Historic Preservation, the University of Kentucky, and Legos

Funkhouser Building of the University of Kentucky in Lego.
Though not on the BGT's Endangered List, many of the campus structures by its
architect (Ernst Johnson) are slated for, or at risk of, demolition. 
For Christmas, I received the Lego Architecture Studio. It is truly a Lego set for adults, especially those with an interest in architecture. And even though I have no training, I'm always up for a little fun. With a bourbon in hand, one of my first "projects" was to recreate, in Lego, some of the historic structures in Lexington. Of particular interest were those properties slated for inclusion on the Blue Grass Trust's "Eleven in Their Eleventh Hour" list for 2014.

The BGT's focus for 2014 was on historically significant structures located on the campus of the University of Kentucky. Many, though not all, of these buildings are modern in design (which is well suited for the Lego Architecture Studio, I might add) and the architectural beauty and significance of such mid-20th century structures have been discussed with much greater detail than prior properties listed on endangered lists. The release of the BGT's 2014 list dovetailed with UK Trustee meetings on which the same very buildings' fate would be determined. Within a short time, the wrecking ball will strike several of these unique structures.

The Kirwan-Blanding Complex was designed by architect Edward Durell Stone. UK has not
confirmed whether these 1967-era, 23-story towers and surrounds will survive. Of them and
their architectural style, Tom Eblen wrote that while "modernist buildings [are] not
for everyone ... they're worth saving anyway." 
Once the fate of the buildings had been determined, the BGT reiterated a Plan B: "documenting [the buildings] thoroughly  ... provid[ing] an opportunity for preservation and design students to become involved and educated [and to leave] behind an accurate and detailed record for future research." UK's own VisCenter and historic preservation programs could make great effort together to accomplish these aims.
Wenner-Gren Aeronautical Research Laboratory in Lego is slated for immediate demolition.
Built in 1940, the stories related to Wenner-Gren are numerous and its importance huge.
It was designed by architect Ernst Johnson, a noted Lexington architect. A chapter in the
book accompanying the Lego set discussed the concept of scale, something I practice with
my interpretation of the Wenner-Gren Laboratory.
Though my Lego interpretations are hardly accurate or detailed of the original structures, they show how these campus facilities can be a source for imagination and inspiration if given the opportunity. Though preservation of the structures is no longer an option, I do hope that each building can be fully documented.
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