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The University of Kentucky College of Design will host an exhibition of photographs featuring the recently retired HMPL1 coal-burning power plant in Henderson, KY. The large-scale prints (4 feet x 8 feet) are by recognized architecture photographer Frank Doering, and will be on display at Riverbend School of the Arts. The exhibition will inaugurate the "River Cities Project," a multi-year research and design initiative sponsored and run by the University of Kentucky College of Design. Beginning in Henderson, the College of Design will work with local communities and cities along the Ohio River to develop strategic design proposals intended to make them more competitive players in an increasingly knowledge-based, energy-focused economy.
The "River Cities Project" is an extension and expansion of "The Henderson Project," which began in June 2007 when students from the University of Kentucky College of Design and the Southern California Institute of Architecture in Los Angeles traveled to Henderson for a five-day design workshop. The workshop was organized to speculate on Henderson's future development, especially in light of changing economic and demographic conditions. In designs presented to the community, including a number of compelling proposals for the Henderson riverfront, students explored the history, culture and unique personality of Henderson. The success of the workshop led Henderson natives Tim Skinner, Mark Bethel, and Drura Parrish to found "The Henderson Project." Their aim was to initiate a more structured collaboration between the Henderson community and the University of Kentucky College of Design that would not only raise funds to support future student projects, but that would also raise awareness and expectations about how design might enable communities and small towns to realize their potential.
Since arriving in 2008, College of Design Dean Michael Speaks has embraced "The Henderson Project" as the model for a new post-graduate Master Degree that will focus on river cities along the Ohio River. The "River Cities Project" will begin this year with a one-year studio focused on Henderson. The year long studio will include graduate students from all three schools at the University of Kentucky College of Design (Architecture, Interior Design, Historic Preservation) and will draw on UK College of Design faculty as well as visiting faculty and external experts. In fall, 2008, Matthijs Bouw, College of Design Sutherland Visiting Professor of Landscape Design, along with School of Architecture Professor Ann Filson, will lead a graduate level studio that will develop strategic design proposals for the city of Henderson. In spring, 2010, the emphasis will shift to the recently retired HMPL1 Plant and the Henderson riverfront. Working with the spring term College of Design Sutherland Visiting Professor of Landscape Design, the studio will develop designs that will adaptively reuse the recently decommissioned HPML1 plant situated between two existing parks on the scenic Ohio River in Henderson.