Urban Fragment: Jose Oubrerie’s Miller House

© Samuel Ludwig

This article was written by Seattle-based designer and critic Evan Chakroff

Kentucky’s Miller House is a built manifesto: an ambitious proposal for the future of suburbia in an age of unprecedented urbanization. Despite its pedigree – designed and built by Le Corbusier protégé José Oubrerie – and despite its (appropriate) selection as a “masterwork” by Kenneth Frampton, the project remains somewhat unknown and the architect underappreciated.

The house should absolutely occupy a place in the canon of great residential architecture. The complex composition alone should inspire myriad formal readings, but more importantly the house represents a model for communal life amid continuously-shifting family structures. It’s a radical rejection of a suburban lifestyle that has become socially, economically, and culturally unsustainable.

SCAPE/Landscape Architecture Wins Competition for Lexington Masterplan

SCAPE’s Masterplan for , ’s Town Branch Commons. Image © SCAPE/Landscape Architecture

New York-based SCAPE/Landscape Architecture has beat out 4 national/international firms, including JDS Architects, to design a Masterplan for the Town Branch Commons, a two-mile linear stretch of green space that will connect the eastern and western sections of downtown Lexington, . The Competition has garnered attention for its interesting challenge: to bring the Town Branch Creek, a river which has been underground for over 100 years, to the surface.

Jeff Fugate, President and COO of the Lexington Downtown Development Authority, which sponsored the competition, noted that “The [five-person] jury had five excellent choices, but SCAPE clearly was above the competition.” Aaron Betsky, the director of the Cincinnati Art Museum and the jury chairman also explained the choice: “As a jury, we felt inspired and excited by the breath of the designers’ vision, while we felt confident that they would be able to implement their plan.”

Town Branch Commons bird’s eye view. Photo © Space Group and MIR

Kate Orff, founder of SCAPE, notes that the firm is looking forward to working with the community to make the vision a reality: “SCAPE is so thrilled to be a part of this exciting initiative to revive Town Branch, make new connections downtown, and improve the quality of life in Lexington. We’ve been inspired by the realities and conditions on the ground and by the potential of water to inform the design of new urban landscapes.”

Find out more about the Masterplan, after the break…

JDS Shortlisted For Master Plan in Lexington, Kentucky

Town Branch Commons bird’s eye view. Photo © Space Group and MIR

JDS Architects and 4 other national/international firms have been shortlisted to design a Master Plan for Town Branch Commons in Lexington, .

The Competition, which attracted over 23 proposals, poses an interesting challenge: to bring the Town Branch Creek, which has been underground for over 100 years, to the surface (an idea originally proposed in 2011 by architect Gary Bates and the Norway-based firm Space Group), and redesign the Commons as a two-mile linear stretch of green space to connect the eastern and western sections of downtown Lexington.

Lexington’s Downton Development Authority and the dean of University of Kentucky’s College of Design, Michael Speaks, were floored by the quality of the proposals they received – a fact Speaks attributes to Jeanne Gang‘s influence; the well-known architect has designed two plans in Lexington and lectured there recently. As Speaks told  Kentucky.com, “Firms have heard that Lexington is friendly to good design, that the mayor is knowledgeable and wants good design.”

Find out which other firms have been shortlisted, after the break…

Space Group Completes Lexington Master Plan

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Space Group, based out of Oslo, Norway, recently completed the master plan for , Kentucky’s new Arena, Arts and Entertainment District. Beating out 13 other architectural firms, the 46 acre development will incorporate a basketball arena, convention center, performing arts center, school of the arts, offices, retail shops and housing. A unique aspect that was incorporated was the distinctive compactness of the existing downtown area and its proximity to residential neighborhoods. In order to accommodate predicted future growth, Space Group conceived a strategy that mirrors the footprint of the existing downtown district and projects it along an axis in line with the Rupp Arena. More info after the break.

Temporary Pavilion / Mark Talbot + Tyler Survant

Courtesy of Mark Talbot and

In this temporary pavilion by Mark Talbot and Tyler Survant just outside of Louisville, , the controlled collision of ruled surfaces generates arched passageways and vault-like spaces.  In addition to defining a social milieu at the threshold of lake and land, the pavilion provides shade from the summer sun by day and magnifies the light of campfires lit beneath it by night. More images and project description after the break.

Video: Creative Energy at The Green Building / (fer) studio

The Green Building in , incorporates a variety of green energy sources to achieve the city’s first LEED Platinum rating. Designed by (fer) studio, the building has geothermal, ice storage, solar panels, and a energy recovery ventilator. Watch the video to find out more.

Our full feature on The Green Building, including photographs and drawings, can be found here.

Video: The Green Wall at The Green Building / (fer) studio

The Green Wall at The Green Building in , is a painting of plants that also cleans the air. “Painted” by Tracey Williams, the Garden Designer that collaborated with (fer) studio, The Green Wall gives visitors a different perspective of plants and their wonderful details.

Our full feature on The Green Building, including photographs and drawings, can be found here.

The Ascent at Roebling’s Bridge / Daniel Libeskind

© BitterBredt

The Ascent at Roebling’s Bridge in Covington, , is a 20-story residential tower that was completed in 2008. Reaching 300 feet at its pinnacle, the 310,000 sqf building includes 70 residential units, a swimming pool, garden facilities, large public event space, and a restaurant on the plaza level. The Ascent at Roebling’s Bridge was awarded a CNBC Americas Property Award for Best High-Rise Development in 2008.

Project description, images, and drawings after the break.

Architect: Daniel Libeskind
Location: 1 Roebling Way, Covington, Kentucky, USA
Architect of Record: GBBN Architects
Structural Engineer: THP Limited
Mechanical/Electrical/ Plumbing Engineer: KLH Engineering
Contractor: Dugan & Meyers Construction
Client: Corporex
Project Area: 310,000 sqf
Project Year: 2008
Photographs: Corporex, BitterBredt, Studio , Michele Nastasi

Video: Wood Reclamation at The Green Building / (fer) studio

The Green Building, designed by (fer) studio, reached a status through a series of innovative processes. As the first LEED adaptive re-use project in the state of they reclaimed much of the building. This video post details the process of re-milling the original building’s structural wood into finished flooring and furniture.

Our full feature on The Green Building, including photographs and drawings, can be found here.

The Green Building / (fer) studio

© Ted Wathen/Quadrant

Based on the idea that sensible architecture emerges between spatial and programmatic relationships, (fer) studio designed the project to instill an experience of place within the surrounding environment. Establishing a design order enabled the sustainable features of the project to fall into place and set up a natural codependency between design and sustainability.  The Green Building is the first project in the city of Louisville and the first LEED certified adaptive re-use project in the state of Kentucky.

Architects: (fer) studio
Location: Louisville, Kentucky,
General Contractor: Peters Construction
Owner: Augusta & Gill Holland
Project Area: 10,175 sqf
Project Year: 2008
Photographs: Ted Wathen/Quadrant

Art House / De Leon & Primmer Architecture Workshop

© Roberto de Leon

were challenged with the residential interior renovation of an existing 1970 4,200 sqf home. The owners, a young couple interested in collecting contemporary art, asked the architects to transform the character of the existing interior creating a balanced home and gallery with warmth and neutrality.

Follow the break to see more photographs and drawings of Art House, an AIA Kentucky Merit Award winner.

Architects: De Leon & Primmer Architecture Workshop
Location: Louisville, Kentucky,
Project Area: 4,200 sqf
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Roberto de Leon

Mason Lane Farm / De Leon & Primmer Architecture Workshop

© Roberto de Leon

The Mason Lane Farm Operations Facility is a new complex for farm equipment servicing, re-fueling & storage, as well as providing seasonal storage for grain & hay. The facility supports a 2,000-acre property utilized for agriculture, recreation, wildlife habitat and conservation purposes. The project has been submitted for LEED Gold Level certification and is notable as the first of its type for implementing LEED criteria to an agricultural project.  More photographs and drawings following the break.

Architects: De Leon & Primmer Architecture Workshop
Location: Goshen, , USA
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Roberto de Leon

Yew Dell Gardens Visitor Center / De Leon & Primmer Architecture Workshop

© Roberto de Leon

The Yew Dell Gardens Visitor Center is situated within the historic property of the Garden Conservancy. The project required the rehabilitation of an existing tobacco barn with a program including a reception area, information and tickets sales, gift shop, plant sale area, group tour meeting zone, internet sales office, and storage. De Leon & Primmer Architecture Workshop were challenged with a modest construction budget of $64/sqf and a tight 5 month design and construction completion schedule. This design project was awarded a 2010 AIA Kentucky Honor Award.

Follow the break for further project description, photographs, and drawings of Yew Dell Gardens Visitor Center.

Architects: De Leon & Primmer Architecture Workshop
Location: , , USA
Project Area: 1,842 sqf
Project Year: 2010
Photographs: Roberto de Leon

Museum Plaza update / REX

© Luxigon

Like many large scale projects around the country, REX’s Museum Plaza, in the city of , Kentucky, had just broken ground and had given light to many dreams for the downtown community when the nation’s financial crisis hit the city. Needless to say, financing came to a standstill and funding for the towers the city had been hoping for was no longer an option. Their current construction loan of $140.5 million, city contributions, bonds and funds already put forth by the team was not enough to proceed in their construction efforts until positive news came their way at the turn of the month. More images and description after the break.