College of Design students bring designs to life


College of Design students created wooden architectural designs for a class. The projects are located outside of Pence Hall on UK’s campus. 

Alexandria Hurley

Construction may be old news to students on UK’s campus by now, but construction by fellow students is new.

The College of Design projects in front of the Enoch Grehan Journalism Building are part of a semester-long design studio for third year students in the College of Design School of Architecture.

Materials and methods of construction professor Bruce Swetnam called the projects “shelters.” He and his class worked with Claude Stephens of Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest on the project.

“The purpose of the shelters is to house visiting artists and researchers in remote areas of the forest for roughly a week at a time,” Swetnam said. “The shelters were designed to be made of sustainable materials, portable and easily assembled, and disassembled.”

The class started working on the projects early in the spring semester and were ready to start building by midterm. The projects were funded by a grant from the UK Student Sustainability Council and the Kentuckiana Masonry Institute Endowment.

Architecture junior Sydnee Rigsby took part in the project.

“The assignment started after our class took a trip to Berhnheim Forest in Clermont, Kentucky,” Rigbsy said. She said that Stephens told them of a need for transportable living units.

For this project, students were paired with one or two of their classmates to collaborate with to develop a design that could be transported in a standard pick-up truck and be made in 90 minutes.

“I am hoping this inspires students to be passionate about their work and work through any obstacles presented despite how difficult it may be,” architecture junior Vincent West said.

Swetnam said that architecture students do not often have the opportunity to actually construct their designs.

“It’s been exhilarating to work through the details of full-scale construction and to actually occupy the space that we conceptualized a few weeks earlier,” Swetnam said.

“We chose the location between Pence and Kastle hall because it is very close to our shop where we do a lot of our fabrication, as well as allowing other students on campus to observe what we do in architecture,” Swetnam said.

The shelters will stay on campus until the end of the semester, including for the College of Design End of Year Show in and outside of Pence Hall on Friday, May 5, from 5 to 7 p.m.

They will then be moved to the Bernheim Forest for a festival there on August 19. Following the festival, the units will be placed into service in the forest.