The Gray Design Building – College of Design – 38°84° the power of place
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The Gray Design 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 Gray Design Building, formerly the Reynolds building, is situated at one of the most prominent entries into the city of Lexington and is set to become the new home for the College of Design — a place where students of architecture, interiors, historic preservation, product design, and urban design — as well as students in landscape architecture and biomedical engineering — will all learn together in a 21st-century, polycultural environment. With Studio Gang as the Design Architect, K. Norman Berry Associates Architects as the Architect of Record, and Carman as the Landscape Architect, 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.

Renderings of the New Building

Construction Photos

Documenting Change

The College of Design was awarded a UK Sustainability Challenge Grant to document the adaptive reuse of the Gray Design Building and preserve the building’s history through documentation, education, and interpretation — from its start as a tobacco warehouse through its varied occupations by University programs to its upcoming use as the new home for the College of Design. Specifically, the goals of the project, Documenting Change, include:

  • Documenting and archiving the history, evolution, and adaptive reuse of the Reynolds / Gray Building.
  • Creating and curating sustainability, adaptive reuse, and historic preservation content for educators and the community.
  • Disseminating information, first through online resources and then supporting through interpretive integration into the new building.

In addition to archival research, photo documentation, site assessment, and 3D digital site models created using LIDAR, Documenting Change will also provide a series of learning modules on sustainability, historic preservation, and documentation.

students in Gray Design Building

Lesson Four

carbon lifecycle
Embodied Carbon