Arts and Culture

Starting this semester, the University of Kentucky College of Design will open a satellite studio in Louisville’s Portland neighborhood for graduate students of architecture, urban design and historic preservation.

The curriculum involves a hands-on approach to design issues facing the revitalizing community. While there, students will engage with residents and community organizations to address the needs of the area.

Students will be based in the Anchor Building, in partnership with the Portland Investment Initiative. They will begin work later this month.

Mitzi Vernon is dean of the College of Design.

“What is better than giving students an opportunity to sit inside a place and be part of its reshaping?” Vernon asked. “To understand the community and build inside it — this is the beginning of a dynamic relationship between Louisville and the College of Design as we move to build a studio, anchoring to that historic preservation and urban design.”

Professor David Biagi is leading the initiative, which is tentatively called Studio Louisville.

“To ground each investigation, we are going to use the city of Louisville’s agenda of lifelong learning, health and compassion,” Biagi said. “Each project will use that as an overlay to test itself against.”

In a news release, Mayor Greg Fischer said design matters for more than just aesthetics.

“We know that built environment influences the well-being of our residents and we strive to create and preserve architecture that makes a lasting impression on our streets and neighborhoods,” said Fischer.

This is just the first pop-up studio planned by UK; future plans are to migrate to other communities in need across the state.

Ashlie Stevens is WFPL's Arts & Culture Reporter.