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Studio Appalachia

Designing Appalachia

At 500 million years old, Appalachia is one of the oldest environments on earth and home to a myriad of diverse species of flora and fauna. Following the spine of the Appalachian mountain range from southern New York to northern Mississippi, the region contains the entire state of West Virginia, as well as portions of 12 other states including Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. Home to more than 25 million people, Appalachia reveals a notable level of diversity, as well as household incomes and poverty rates that fall consistently below the national average. Its economy — once highly dependent on mining, forestry, agriculture, chemical industries and heavy industry — significantly impacts the future.

The University of Kentucky College of Design sits on the doorstep of Appalachia — one of the most socioeconomically disadvantaged regions in North America — and thus, it is poised to mobilize design as a catalyst for positive change.

As architects, designers and advocates, our solutions are only effective when we understand the needs and nuances of the communities that we serve. Studio Appalachia offers a collective and interdisciplinary design research group established by students and faculty in the College of Design. Operating as a collaborative hub for interdisciplinary and multi-scalar projects in architecture, urbanism, interiors and historic preservation, Studio Appalachia draws upon the geographic, historical, social and cultural diversity of the region to promote revitalization.

Our land grant, Research-1 institution is strategically positioned to serve communities in the Commonwealth and beyond with interdisciplinary research and hands-on learning opportunities. Research-based studios, design theses and scholarship engage sites within the Greater Appalachia territory as defined by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). Design research endeavors of Studio Appalachia address issues that have enigmatically confronted the region for decades. Students and faculty consider such conditions as opportunities for design innovation in the built environment.

Happenings