The School of Art and Visual Studies is soon to have a new home. The Lexington-based firm Omni Architects have been hired to help program and renovate the interior of an historic building erected in 1899 as a Leggitt & Meyers tobacco processing plant. Located at 236 Bolivar Street, the building was recently renovated as an apartment complex. Over 20,000 square feet larger in useable space than the School's current studio home, the Reynolds Building, the Bolivar building is a structurally sound building with two 'wings'. The west wing is a two story structure with a central axis lit by skylights. The east wing is a four-story structure sited perpendicular to the west wing. The Bolivar Building has twenty foot ceilings, wide passageways, lovely light and space for all types of media interaction and exploration. At UK we have a tradition of both faculty and students creating ambitious, large-scale work in installation, performance, sculpture, ceramics, painting and drawing because of the scale of Reynolds' work spaces. With the Bolivar building this tradition will continue to grow and expand.
The new home of the School will be a 21st century research laboratory that fosters collaborative, interdisciplinary projects. Student and faculty studios will be housed in close promixity to state-of-the-art new media labs, a multipurpose 3-D fabrication lab, a photography suite, a ceramics facility, printmaking shop, wood shop, machine shop, as well as drawing, painting and design workshops. There will be spaces that foster experimental and cross-disciplinary conversations and critiques. Faculty and students should find the Bolivar Building to be both larger but also more intimate than the Reynolds Building and without Reynolds' structural and environmental issues.
In addition, the Bolivar Building is just on the edge of campus, near the College of Education, surrounded by ample parking, and in the heart of an entertainment and restaurant row. The School will be in short walking distance from microbreweries, burger and pizza joints, diners, Korean, African, Mediterranean, and Indian bistros, just to name a few.
The renovated Bolivar Building is scheduled to open as the new home of the School of Art and Visual Studies by 2015.