The New Building – College of Design – 38°84° the power of place
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The New Building

The College of Design has waited 50 years for a building opportunity that will allow its programs to grow, diversify, and cross-pollinate. And now, on the precipice of a new era in design education, the College has made plans to transform a 20th-century tobacco warehouse into a vibrant ecosystem for future generations of designers.

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The Future Home of the College of Design

The former Reynolds building, situated at one of the most prominent entries into the city of Lexington, is set to become the new home for the College of Design — a place where students of architecture, interiors, historic preservation, landscape architecture, urban design, product design, and biomedical engineering will all learn together in a 21st-century, polycultural environment. With Studio Gang as the Design Architect and K. Norman Berry Associates Architects as the Architect of Record, the College has laid the groundwork for a pioneering approach to design education, advancing the College of Design from regional to national prominence.

The Case for Adaptive Reuse

Preservation is part of our DNA. From our master’s program to the osmosis into all areas of design, historic preservation serves as a mainstay of our pedagogy. We embrace the idea that the former Reynolds Building is one of the most significant adaptive reuse projects on campus and in the Commonwealth — a working model that translates to a formidable teaching moment for students. The open volume of the former Reynolds tobacco warehouse provides a space for multidimensional, cross-disciplinary education and preparation for real-world issues: global, national and within Kentucky. It will serve as a pinnacle of engagement within the city of Lexington.

Building Collage

Renderings of the New Building

Studio Gang


After reviewing 29 applicants and narrowing the field to six finalists, the UK College of Design is honored to announce that Studio Gang has been selected as the National Architect for the Reynolds Building project.

Studio Gang founding principal and MacArthur Fellow, Jeanne Gang, FAIA, Int. FRIBA, brings a span of qualifications to this project. She was the only architect named as one of TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People for 2019. Her distinguished honors only highlight her dedication to sustainability, environmentalism, urban sensitivity, and diversity, as evidenced by the diversity in her practice and her pay equity pledge. In 2018, Gang was the recipient of the UK College of Design Brown-Forman Visiting Chair Endowment, and co-taught Studio Louisville with Professor David Biagi, a satellite studio that engaged members of the Portland neighborhood of West Louisville to explore how architecture and urban design reflect and foster community identity, health, and resiliency.


Before and after interior views of the Beloit College Powerhouse in Beloit, WI. Studio Gang reimagined the former coal-burning power plant as a student union centered on recreation and wellness. Courtesy Studio Gang

Studio Gang

K Norman Berry Associates Architects


K. Norman Berry Associates Architects brings with it a strong track record in historic preservation and adaptive reuse projects, as well as extensive experience working with major firms on large projects. The firm has been recognized with numerous awards including an AIA National Design Award, six AIA Kentucky Design Awards and seven Preservation Awards.

“I believe that the most important opportunity that the Reynolds Building affords the College is to showcase how a historic building can change and be updated to ‘modern’ programmatic needs, while retaining its essential character as a utilitarian warehouse space as originally designed. The bones of the building can be treated as a historic restoration project while reflecting the educational and pedagogical direction of the College of Design as it trains future generations of designers,” said Bob Haffermann, AIA, LEED AP, Managing Principal at K. Norman Berry.


KNBA led the project team in the complete exterior and interior renovation of the Fayette County Courthouse, one of the most prominent and architecturally significant landmarks in downtown Lexington.

K. Norman Berry Associates Architects

Firm-to-Studio Campaign

Our partners in the industry play a critical role in the future of our students as they plan their professional careers. You can make an impact today as the College prepares its move to a state-of-the-art building that will transform the future of design education at the University of Kentucky.

The Firm-to-Studio program allows you to make an impactful pledge by naming one or more studios at the College, with the option to pay over a five-year period. More importantly, naming a studio gives you the opportunity to share your firm‘s story, work and mission. Customized digital displays located respective to the named studio in the new building will run narratives, not only for students but for all visitors to the College.

Gifts can be made over time and through various means; contact Don Witt, Assistant Vice President for Philanthropy, or Patrick Robinson, Associate Director of Philanthropy for the College of Engineering, to learn more. Giving to design education is giving to the future.

Read more about the Firm-to-Studio Campaign here.

Plan Your Gift

Hackable Studio Desk Project

Looking toward the future of design education, where and how students work was also considered when planning the new building. The Hackable Studio Desk was developed to give students the ability to personalize their workspace as they develop more fabrication skills during their time at the College. You can support this campaign by sponsoring one or more of the 750 studio desks which will populate the new building.

Made of 3/4” premium plywood, the tops of the desks will be portable, allowing each student to take the desktop with them as they advance in their program and after graduation. Students can personalize their desk design as they develop more fabrication skills — think cutting board or laptop holder, whatever modifications a student wants to make.  The bottom of the desks are made with powder-coated steel tubing and a substrate for connecting accessories. The steel frames, which will remain in each studio, can be etched with a donor name to show your support for the UK College of Design in perpetuity. 

Read more about the Hackable Studio Desk Project here.

Sponsor a Desk


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