Design Adds Value to the Commonswas a design symposium hosted by The University of Kentucky College of Design in conjunction with Lexington’s Downtown Development Authority’s Town Branch Commons Design Competition. Design Adds Value to the Commons was five landscape architects discussing the importance of good design for downtown development and including presentations by
Mark Johnson of Civitas, Shane Coen of Coen+Partners, Petra Blaisse of Inside Outside, Julien de Smedt & Diana Balmori of JDS Architects/Balmori Associates and Kate Orff of Scape
During a week when most college students are focused on barreling through their last final and heading home for a holiday break, fourth-year landscape architecture students were spending an unseasonably warm December day building a shade structure for preschoolers.
Recently, Kentucky.com published an interesting article about Lexington Mall. A mall that has slowly died over the last 20 years and become part of the urban decay of Lexington. The site now offers a great opportunity for development as it is located inside the New Circle Road(See Map). The site’s history is similar to many urban malls in North America slowly died since the 1990′s and many attempted redevelopments by the owner but nothing ever eventuated and then abandonment of the site for it to decay.
The site is 30 acres of prime real estate as its 3 miles from downtown and near schools and other amenities. The article cites Brian Lee, a Landscape Architecture professor at University of Kentucky stating that
“It’s one of the few sites in Lexington with a water view,” said Brian Lee, a University of Kentucky landscape architecture professor whose students have studied the site for academic exercises in urban redevelopment.
The author of the article suggests that the site could be a “new urban” mixed village and shows diagrams of a possible “Seaside” style development. However, I think this idea sells the site short of its possibilities and that it should integrate more public functions and should be more connected to the surrounding parks and utilise the edges along the main roads.