School of Architecture appoints new director


New Director of UK’s School of Architecture Jeffrey Johnson will officially begin his tenure at the university on July 1. 

McKenna Horsley

When he was appointed the new director of UK’s School of Architecture last week, Jeffrey Johnson felt excited and honored. Chosen from a pool of 50 applicants for the position, Johnson felt the history of the school and its legacy compelled him to apply for the position.

Johnson received both his Bachelor of Architecture in 1990 and his Master of Architecture in 1992 from Ball State University. Originally from Indiana, he has worked in Vienna, Chicago, the Netherlands and New York City, where he taught at Columbia University.

 “In addition to his balance of practice and academia, Professor Johnson is a promising leader in the school and college because of his experimentation at a range of scales from interiors to urban design,” Dean of the College of Design MitziVernon said. “We are excited to have his voice at the table as we grow the College of Design.”

Johnson, while at Columbia, was involved with a program called the Asia Megacities Lab. The program started with an idea from a previous dean and combined architecture of New York City with emerging urbanized regions from around the world. Johnson hopes to introduce a similar program at UK, but still must talk with others in the school.

“(I want the project to be) something global of course, now exactly what the makeup of that is will obviously be with the dean and faculty discussions … at the College of Design for sure,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s passion for architecture derives from his youth. As a child, he watched his father, who was an engineer, designed modular homes. Also, his interest in other creative fields such as art drew him to pursue architecture as a career.

“To understand architecture is an expanded profession, meaning that there are many ways that one can take advantage of the training that you get as an architect, or the education as an architect, to be leaders, not only as leaders for the built environment but also how we live and occupy the Earth as we think about the future. It’s a very important issue obviously,” Johnson said. “As an educator, it is important to train and educate future architects but also to expand their horizon as far as what opportunities really exist for architects out there. To me, it’s about leadership. I think we should be stewards and leaders about the kind of future environment that we’ll all live in.”

Johnson is looking forward to connecting with the faculty and staff of the School of Architecture, as well as its students. Since, he will not teach any classes this fall, Johnson will spend his time bonding with the school.

“There is a strong faculty at the school so I intend to sit down with the faculty to better understand what they’re doing and what their goals and aspirations are,” Johnson said. “Because really what my position will be is to frame the strengths of the school and the faculty and with the faculty, look towards the future, whatever that future might be.”

Johnson will officially start as the director of the School of Architecture on July 1.