Answering Kentucky Questions

Four years ago, a tornado ripped through the small town of West Liberty, Kentucky. Main Street was left in shambles. Homes and businesses were destroyed. A community in Kentucky was left to face the question of how to rebuild.

Today, West Liberty is answering that question.

After the devastation, Dr. Greg Luhan, the John Russell Groves Endowed Professor of Architecture in the UK College of Design, visited West Liberty at the request of his daughter who wanted to see what they could do to help.

Struck by the devastation, Luhan saw an opportunity for the College of Design to engage in helping this community rebuild. Since then, he and a team of faculty and students have dedicated more than three years to the project.

Working with interdisciplinary design studios at both Texas A&M University and UK, Luhan and his students teamed up with industry partners and stakeholders from Lexington, Morehead, West Liberty and Morgan County, Kentucky, to develop 35 different prototype projects, including residential buildings and an innovative food tower

Their team envisioned a sustainable, vertical farm and energy-efficient homes and businesses, like those used in Southeast Kentucky communities to help revive a core manufacturing base hit by the recession.

One community. One vision, developed in partnership, for moving forward.

But their impact may go beyond this one community. The studio developed and published guiding materials for communities looking to develop a similar strategy. Recently, Luhan began working in Johnson County, Kentucky to help rebuild affordable residential solutions after severe flooding. 

This is a shining example of our role as Kentucky’s indispensable institution: dedicated faculty in one of our colleges working with students to address relevant Kentucky questions of our day.

This work – on campus and across our state – transforms lives as we advance the better interests of the Commonwealth. It’s one way we are the university for Kentucky.