Preservation Is…

Architecture has been called the art of building beautifully, a fixation of man’s thinking, and record of his activity…  Keep in mind that last phrase. It is important.

-Ernst Johnson, architect, professor, colleague of Eero Saarinen
The Wenner Gren Building on the campus of the University of Kentucky, designed by Ernst Johnson, was constructed in 1941 to house the university’s aeronautic engineering lab. It was later used to train chimpanzees for NASA. It is slated for demolition next year. Image via the Lexington Herald Leader


  1. ginny daley

    Such a shame to lose this building. Did you go to Bob Kelly’s talk on Johnson’s campus buildings? He did an excellent job of explaining the architectural and historical significance of this building. I keep thinking that there should be a way to referenc e that significance by incorporating this structure into the new Academic Science Building or by moving it and adaping it to new use. This would be more benfit to UK & students than just tearing it down.

    • bricksandmortarpreservation

      I did attend Kelly’s talk yesterday. He did a fabulous job! I agree that the best possible way for UK to move forward is by incorporating this structure into the new building or by moving it. Let’s hope the Board of Trustees comes to the same conclusion!

  2. ginny daley

    I think we’d have to lobby the Trustees for that to happen. When I was in HP school at UNC Greensboro, they wanted to demolish an older group of dorms to make way for some high rises (sound familiar?). The President held a campus hearing where many of us students, faculty/staff, and alum spoke. We followed that with a letter writing campaign to the Trustees and a huge This Place matters photo. Those dorms are still standing, have been renovated (technology upgrades & common spaces created), and now are THE place to live.

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