Winning Town Branch Design Brings Country Into The City

Feb 4, 2013

LEXINGTON, Ky. - The winner of the Lexington Downtown Development Authority’s competition to design Town Branch Commons is SCAPE, a landscape architecture firm out of New York. Jurists in charge of selecting the design voted unanimously for the firm’s vision for a thread of public spaces along Town Branch.

SCAPE's winning design.
SCAPE's winning design.
Credit Josh James / WUKY

Looking at the five Town Branch designs currently on display at the Downtown Arts Center, the first thing one notices about the winning proposal is just how green it is – not just the color but the general attention given to the environment. It turns out that caught the eye of jurists as well. One of them, the Dean of UK’s College of Design, Michael Speaks, says SCAPE dug the deepest when it came to the history of the terrain.

"And they found formations like boils and waterfalls and windows," Speaks says.

Speaks notes, unlike the other four finalists, SCAPE’s winding rural vision for downtown had another simple thing going for it.  

"It's doable," he says.

To that end, Mayor Jim Gray says the next step will involve more detailed plans from SCAPE and a push to get more private sector involvement as well as input from the public. 

(See slideshow for more images of the proposals.)