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On Friday, October 12, the UK College of Design hosted a discussion panel entitled “Design Adds Value” which addressed how the design of public spaces can benefit a community on an economic, physical, and social level. The discussion featured three prominent architects who are working on a regional, national and global scale.
Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang Architects in Chicago, Roberto de Leon of Louisville’s de Leon & Primmer Architecture Workshop, and Neil Denari of NMDA Architects in Los Angeles presented projects to students, architects and invited guests at the downtown Lexington Library. Michael Speaks, Dean of the College, moderated the discussion.
Each of the three architects presented projects that addressed the specific needs of a community that were met through their collaborative design thinking process. Gang spoke of the importance of engaging all stakeholders throughout the design process, addressing assets and the needs of users through open dialogue.
After the presentations, the speakers took questions from the audience in the over-capacity library theater. When asked if their personal experiences and narratives ever play a part in their designs, all three architects agreed that the community’s needs and the building’s purpose factor in to a design before anything else.
"The world is so uneven," said Gang. "Cities are emerging…there is a great need for architects to come up with design geared toward living."
The discussion panel was part of the regional Mayors’ Institute on City Design, a two-day conference hosted by the College of Design and the National Endowment for the Arts. Eight mayors from cities across the eastern United States were invited to discuss design problems facing their cities with prominent architects, designers, and planners over a period to two days in Lexington.