Professional Practice

Town Branch Commons Design Competition, Lexington, Kentucky

Date: 1/30/2013 - 2/1/2013

Type: Events

Location(s): Kentucky


Lexington, KY- The Town Branch Commons Design Competition, presented by the Lexington Downtown Development Authority, involves some of the world’s best landscape architects and is currently underway to re-imagine a two-mile stretch including the Town Branch Creek, which currently runs under the streets of downtown. This competition is looking to inspire and inform, and to provide innovative and implementable concepts for a public park that will act as a true connector through the city's core.

Through an RFQ process a three-member committee including Michael Speaks, dean of the University of Kentucky (UK) College of Design; Ned Crankshaw, chairman of the UK landscape architecture department; and Jeff Fugate, president of the Downtown Development Authority, whittled the list of 23 firms to five. The five are participating in a design competition. The five firms are: COEN+PARTNERS, Minneapolis; CIVITAS, Denver; INSIDE OUTSIDE: Petra Blaisse, Amsterdam; JDS, Copenhagen; and SCAPE / LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE, New York.  Each finalist will receive a $15,000 honorarium. Design competition submittals are due at the end of January. Design teams have been invited to visit Lexington January 31 for a jury presentation and to participate in various public events sponsored by the University of Kentucky’s Gaines Center for the Humanities, UK’s College of Design and Department of Landscape Architecture, and the Fayette Alliance. On February 1, a five-member jury will select a winning design for Town Branch Commons.

Jury members are Speaks; Crankshaw; Bradford McKee, editor, Landscape Architecture Magazine; Holly Wiedemann, a local developer; and Aaron Betsky, director, Cincinnati Art Museum. Various other public events are scheduled to complement the design competition efforts the are listed below:

  • Discussion of “Landscapes of Confrontation” (contaminated sites) 7 p.m., Wednesday, January 30, Gluck Equine Research Center auditorium, 1400 Nicholasville Road, by Bradford McKee, editor, Landscape Architecture Magazine.
  •  Lafayette Seminar in Public Issues, 11:30 a.m., Thursday January 31, Hilary Boone Center, 500 Rose St.
  • Speakers are local architect Van Meter Pettit and planner Stan Harvey. Sponsored annually by the Gaines Center for the Humanities at UK, this lecture will be an opportunity for Lexington community members, elected officials, and faculty and students to offer insights on the history of the Town Branch and examine large-scale projects from other cities and how they have been implemented. The Lafayette Seminar is supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
  • “Design Adds Value to the Commons” Five landscape architects discuss the importance of good design for downtown development, 4 p.m., Thursday, January 31, Lexington Children’s Theatre, 418 W. Short St. The symposium, hosted by UK’s College of Design, will offer the public an opportunity to learn more about the participating design teams in the Town Branch Commons Design Competition. Team members will discuss a variety of projects. A question-and-answer session will follow presentations by the firms. Open to the public.

To learn more about these events, the participating firms, and the jurors please visit for more information. For additional inquiries contact Brandi Berryman at the Lexington Downtown Development Authority at


Julia Lent

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Maxine Artis
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Professional Practice 

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