Allow community, campus input for law building design

The designs for the new College of Law building recently became the subject of debate in both the campus and the greater Lexington communities.

The Federal-style architecture that is planned for the College of Law building is a 225-year-old style that strikes many as being outdated, the Kernel reported Feb. 13. Some propose that a modern approach to style and materials would be more consistent with UK’s Top 20 Business Plan, serving as a representation of the progressive vision UK has for its future.

Critics on campus and in the Lexington community have raised a good point: Architecture not only reflects the community in which it is situated, but it also serves important social and cultural needs for that community. As important as the proposed architecture is for the future of UK and Lexington, students, faculty, staff and community members should have the opportunity to be involved in making major architectural decisions such as this.

Architecture often serves as a reflection of the identity of a community in which it is located and maintains that identity regardless of fashion or trend. In the same way, architecture can also serve as a unifier for a community as a symbol of their common past, present and future. Architecture communicates to the outside world a certain self-conceptualization that makes it important in creating an image that is positive for the community.

All of these and many other reasons demonstrate the fact that the proposed plans for the UK College of Law should take into consideration the needs and desires of people in the community and on campus because of the impact that such a design will have.

Instead of moving ahead at full speed, UK should actively seek the critiques offered by community and campus members. Undoubtedly, all those involved in the debate care deeply about the future of UK and of Lexington, and they should have a chance to contribute to the architectural designs.