The Gray Design Building, previously known as the Reynolds Building, is a former tobacco warehouse that has been empty for several years. The renovated facility will house the college's five programs, as well as landscape architecture and a biomedical engineering studio.
“Across our campus, classrooms, residential areas and research spaces are changing to meet the demands of a 21st -century living and learning experience,” says University President Eli Capilouto. “The Gray Design Building will serve as a critical nexus between the UK campus and the larger community."
The building overhaul is being made possible by numerous donations, including a gift of $5.25 million from Gray Inc., which includes companies related to engineering, design, construction, automation, equipment manufacturing and real estate.
The renovation will result in greater collaboration between the college and other programs across the campus. In collaboration with the university's College of Engineering and the Gatton College of Business and Economics, the design college will work on establishing a nationally recognized design-build curriculum.
“In the Gray Design Building, the College of Design will finally be housed in one common space,” says Mitzi Vernon, dean of the UK College of Design. “In the wide open, newly appointed warehouse I imagine students, from seven different disciplines surrounded by their neighbor’s innovation as they walk through the building."
The adaptive reuse project has been designed by the Studio Gang architectural firm.
“By reimagining a 100-year-old tobacco warehouse into a 21st-century design school, the Gray Design Building embodies the creativity that all design students will be learning to harness while they are at the University of Kentucky,” says Jeanne Gang, the founding principal and partner of Studio Gang. “By starting with what’s there, our design pays tribute to the history of the university’s campus while minimizing the environmental impact of the project to help prepare for its future.”
Construction is scheduled for completion by the end of 2023.
Video tour of facility: