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

In December 2018, the UK Board of Trustees approved the rehabilitation of the Reynolds Building — as part of the University’s Capital Campaign — to become the new home for the College of Design. With more than 140,000 gsf of historically significant space, the Reynolds Building will encompass one of the most significant preservation and adaptive reuse projects on campus and provide an all-inclusive space for the College’s current and forthcoming programs.

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The Future Home of the College of Design

The New Building is the occasion for moving the College of Design from regional to national prominence. The College has waited 50 years for a building opportunity that allows for growth and diversity of programs. The building will be a nimble, interactive artifact that teaches students about architecture, interiors, historic preservation, landscape, urban design, and product design. The open volume of Reynolds will provide a multidimensional, cross-disciplinary education and a preparation for real-world issues, global, national and within Kentucky. While studio culture remains the foundation of design education, the decentralization of technology and fabrication is changing the boundaries and utility of studio. Reynolds will bend and adapt to the necessary evolution of both studio and fabrication.

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 Reynolds Building can become one of the most significant preservation and adaptive reuse projects on campus and in the Commonwealth — a working model of preservation that translates to a formidable teaching moment for our students. With its storied past and substantial physical space, Reynolds can become a flagship building that not only champions adaptive reuse but will serve as a venue for greater faculty research, public symposia and an exemplary champion of Lexington’s historic preservation efforts.

“This move to the New Building allows the College to build a sustainable and innovative atmosphere for the evolution of design education and future generations of students while providing us the room to grow in both scope and size.”

– Dean Mitzi Vernon

Construction Updates

This is where you will find construction updates, live construction camera feeds, information about student and college engagement in the design and construction process, and more.


Jeanne Gang Webinar

Jeanne Gang, FAIA, and founding principal of Studio Gang, shared the current state of the new College of Design building during a public webinar on Feb. 3, 2021.


Dean Vernon on “UK at the Half”

Dean Mitzi Vernon chats with Carl Nathe about the new College of Design building project during “UK at the Half” on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021.


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. Gang was last year’s 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

Giving Forward

The Reynolds Building project presents a unique opportunity to publicly honor those who have made an impact through design while simultaneously supporting the future of design education.  Within its walls lie numerous opportunities to recognize people or firms who you hold in high esteem. Whether you are interested in a more specialized opportunity — like an area within the Fabrication Lab or Firm-to-Studio — or choose to honor an alum or former professor by naming an office or common space for them, there are a myriad of ways to help the College pay tribute to those who have helped us get to where we are today.

There will also be several signature public spaces in Reynolds where your donation can benefit the College of Design on a larger scale. Not only will our students have the breadth of space to engage in deeper design thinking, but the building will give the city of Lexington another venue to further promote its town/gown mission with the university. With these enduring tributes, you ensure the next generation of design students are equipped with the foundational history and modern skillset for an innovative and prosperous future.

Firm-to-Studio Program

Your firm can 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. Naming a studio gives you the opportunity to share your firm’s story and mission not only with students but with all visitors to the College through customized digital displays.

Gifts can be made over time and through various means, so please contact Directors of Philanthropy Don Witt or Patrick Robinson to discuss your gift. Giving to design education is giving to the future.


Plan Your Gift