In partnership with City of Louisville and Portland Investment Initiative (Pii), the University of Kentucky College of Design in helping bring a design renaissance to West Louisville through its first satellite studio.
After meeting with Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Pii founder Gill Holland in spring 2016, Dean Mitzi Vernon set the wheels in motion for the inaugural “studio away” experience that immerses UK’s architecture students in a targeted yet underdeveloped community.
“At UK, we know that working in partnership is the best way to transform communities and fulfill our commitment to the Commonwealth,” said President Eli Capilouto. “This studio leverages the talent of our faculty and students with the infrastructure to engage in this discipline and with the Portland community. It is a demonstration of the ‘power of we,’ that will continue to propel this institution to be among the very best in the country and world.”
Studio Louisville is just the first iteration of this pop-up studio approach, which will be led by Associate Professor David Biagi. And thanks to the college’s Brown Forman Visiting Chair Endowment, the studio will also have the opportunity to work with a keynote chair for each year of the studio, beginning with Jeanne Gang and her office, Studio Gang.
Having this in situ perspective is an important characteristic of Studio Louisville that allows UK students to physically work in the environment while engaging with residents, community organizations and other key groups to address the needs of the area.
“For the students, they have the upfront opportunity to develop skills needed to make a positive difference in the lives of the people within a community,” Dean Vernon said. “Working in the Portland neighborhood for the semester will allow students to see the full scope of the area and have a true and lasting impact.”
Future plans are to migrate to new cities with a need for community transformation and to incorporate the college’s other programs in the efforts.