The University of Kentucky College of Design has been invited to participate in the continuation of the “Culture Now” project, originally started as part of the SupraStudio at UCLA, run by Thom Mayne of Morphosis and assisted by Karen Lohrmann.
Other programs participating in the current “Culture Now” project include Princeton, Columbia, Yale, Harvard, Syracuse, UCLA, Cornell, MIT, Penn, Michigan, Pratt, Rensselaer, and Rice.
Mayne’s “Culture Now” project is an investigation of the contemporary American condition in struggling midsize American cities through an immersive investigation into the intersection of public policy, urbanism, contemporary culture and its spatial manifestations. This study of social, political, and cultural evidence immediately extends the dialogue across disciplines and encompasses institutional and political models of the public.
The College of Design’s contribution to the “Culture Now” project is the Northern Kentucky River Cities Project, which includes two College of Design studios; an architecture studio taught by Martin Summers, and a historic preservation studio taught by the Helen Edwards Abell Endowed Chair in Historic Preservation, Douglas Appler. The studios will explore development opportunities in a string of Northern Kentucky river cities; Bromley, Ludlow, Covington, Newport, Bellevue and Dayton.
The project began this fall with architecture students developing an overall planning study of the region and historic preservation students researching the region’s historic structures. In the spring semester the college will focus on developing a specific project.
Professor Martin Summers describes the Northern Kentucky River Cities Project: “We are exploring trajectories that define what makes a contemporary ‘city,’ and how those overlapping trajectories define our understanding of place. The research has focused on qualitative and quantitative information, cultural values, physical infrastructure and possible avenues of synthesis we discovered in Northern Kentucky and the greater Cincinnati metropolitan area. The work attempts to situate the cities in the region, the country, and the interconnected global networks within which all development now takes place.
We are seeking generative ideas that find and occupy the seams of latent potentials and are working to synthesize conditions across the five cities. We desire to provoke a larger discussion about cities, their individuality and relationships, strength through alliances, and to find symbiotic opportunities that can propel the region forward in a way that maximizes the possibilities of their interconnectedness and networked potentials.”