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January 27, 2017

1904 University of Kentucky Dormitory Transformed into Living Learning System

Lord Aeck Sargent’s Award-Winning Historic Preservation Team Restores and Repurposes Campus’s First Women’s Dormitory

LEXINGTON, KY — January 2017 — Lord Aeck Sargent is an architecture, planning, landscape architecture and interior design firm and industry leader in historic preservation and higher education. The firm is known for its collaboration across practice areas as exemplified in the completed rehabilitation of Patterson Hall on the University of Kentucky campus, which opened its doors to students for the fall semester of 2016.

Lord Aeck Sargent transformed Historic Patterson Hall in Lexington from a dormitory into a Living/Learning Center with state-of-the-art technology and a combination of educational and residential space. Opened in 1904, Patterson Hall is a significant structure at the University of Kentucky. It was the first women’s dormitory built for the university and has served as home to thousands of students for 110 years. The final design remains as close to the original building as possible, while giving new life to the architectural centerpiece of the north campus.

“Our challenge is always to preserve the historic fabric of a building while satisfying the needs of the space for current and future generations,” said Karen Gravel, AIA, LEED AP, lead designer and director of Lord Aeck Sargent’s Historic Preservation practice area. “With Patterson Hall, we retained the character-defining features of the building while implementing technological updates, constructive learning spaces and an advanced design to respond to the ever-changing dynamics of a university setting and classroom demands.”

In addition to its rich elements of historic preservation, Patterson Hall is an example of the innovative campus residences for which Lord Aeck Sargent has become known. The next-generation dormitory brings mixed-use trends to the college campus, featuring seven 25-person classrooms, two 45-person classrooms, study lounges, faculty offices, several smaller seminar/conference rooms and three living spaces to accommodate visiting scholars.

Updates to the original structure include the reengineering of mechanical and electrical systems and the reconstruction of a roof deck above the main porch to be used as an outdoor gathering space. A new elevator and two egress stairs were added to meet current building codes.

Lord Aeck Sargent’s Landscape Architecture, Education and Historic Preservation practice areas worked closely to develop thoughtful landscape design that gave a nod to the original 1870s campus plan, and helps integrate the surrounding buildings into a new, cohesive district within the larger campus context. 

A wide pedestrian walkway connecting Patterson’s front door to South Limestone, a prominent retail street adjacent to campus, is flanked by limestone seat walls and highlights a newly opened view to Patterson’s front façade. The new landscape design also includes a crushed brick pathway with seating beneath large shade trees. Large-caliper oaks located along the pathway mimic the stone path that originally existed within Patterson’s front yard in the early part of the 20th Century.  

Through a focus on Responsive Design along with deep, in-house technical expertise, Lord Aeck Sargent leveraged its depth of local expertise in its Lexington office and breadth of experience in historic preservation, landscape architecture and higher education across its six-office firm to complete the project.

“Bringing together so many facets of expertise for such a monumental project here in Lexington has been exciting for our office and firm,” said Stan Harvey, director of the Lexington office. “We have been privileged to work on great higher education, historic preservation, planning, government and science projects across the state, but any project in our own community is especially rewarding.”

Lord Aeck Sargent has extensive experience in historic preservation, serving clients across the country to restore public buildings, museums, cultural sites, colleges and universities. Offering a range of services like preservation planning and conditions assessments, Lord Aeck Sargent serves its clients with a comprehensive approach to historic preservation. Lord Aeck Sargent has received awards for “Excellence in Sustainable Rehabilitation” from the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation for its renovation of Campbell Hall at Agnes Scott College and received a “Design Citation” from Progressive Architecture for the Rehabilitation and Adaptive Reuse of the Hinman Building at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

High-resolution images, interviews with lead designers and more information is available upon request.


About Lord Aeck Sargent

Lord Aeck Sargent is an award-winning architecture, planning and interior design firm serving clients in the college and university, K-12 education, multi-family housing/mixed-use/commercial, and urban design/planning markets with specialization in science and technology, arts and culture and historic preservation. The firm’s experts in these practice areas have deep regional and national experience and collaborate across firm offices located in Atlanta; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Austin, Texas; Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Lexington, Kentucky; and Washington, D.C. Lord Aeck Sargent has been named one of Atlanta Business Chronicle's Top 25 Architectural Firms 15 times, received American Institute of Architects’ National Honor Award and has been in Engineering News-Record Magazine’s Top 500 Design Firms list 10 times. LAS is No. 88 on ENR’s Top 100 Green Design Firms list, and has been named a Top Green Design firm by multiple publications 16 times. For more information, visit the firm website at