Promoting midcentury modernism to the Bluegrass and beyond.

Lexington – 710 W High Street

Posted: July 16th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Commercial, Lexington | Tags: , , , | No Comments »
710 w high st lexington ky mid century modern office building

Photo: kymodern staff

710 w high st lexington ky

Photo: kymodern staff

 

detail of metal grid exterior 710 w high st

Photo: kymodern staff

This classic mid century modern office building is a kymodern favorite. Always controversial, there were rumors swirling about a pending sale and demolition at the turn of the century. Some see the building as a roll of concertina wire away from resembling a prison. For aficionados of simple design, however, the uniform metal grids are a thing of beauty acting as both a sun filter while also offering a modicum of privacy for those inside.

 

original metal grid configuration 710 w high st

Photo: courtesy of Fayette County PVA

Fortunately, the sale to the Community Action Council (a non-profit) in 2002 has meant that this building will continue to serve the community and remain a unique architectural fixture in the downtown area for years to come. It is not all roses, though. The facade has been changed in the last decade with several grids removed along each side and some minor cosmetic changes to the entryway as well. The comparison photo provided by the Fayette County PVA shows the original grid configuration. It is hoped that the current exterior will remain stable.

Property Type: Commercial
Year Built: 1963
Sq. Footage: 15,175 (per PVA)


Louisville – 6100 Dutchman’s Lane

Posted: April 4th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Commercial, Louisville | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »
Kaden Tower - Louisville Ky

Photo: Pat Smith

Kaden Tower stands tall and proudly isolated on the outskirts of Louisville, which may be the perfect setting for a building famous for polarizing the local design community. Erected in 1966 for the Lincoln Income Life Insurance Company, the 15 story tower was unlike any skyscraper seen in the city before or since. With its cantilevered design and window grillwork reminiscent of a lace doily the Lincoln Tower quickly became an unforgettable part of the Louisville cityscape and (along with Gabe’s Tower in Owensboro) one of the few interesting mid century modern skyscrapers in the entire state.

Kaden Tower - Louisville Ky

Photo: Pat Smith

The architecture may be love-it-or-hate-it, but the pedigree is undeniable. Falsely attributed by some to Frank Lloyd Wright, this building was actually designed by Wright’s son-in-law, William Wesley Peters. It is generally accepted, though, that Peters borrowed liberally from some similar Wright designs and with Wright as a mentor the influence is undeniable.

Wright was famous for his use of space and, again, his influence on Peters and this building can be seen in the blueprints. A central core replaced the more common steel girder construction seen on tall buildings and each floor is suspended off of this core. The end result is an open floor plan with minimal structural supports to break up the flow. This meant a maximum use of space and also allowed plenty of light to penetrate the interior. Further interior space was saved by using a glass external elevator. Well-landscaped grounds and a one story complementary building completed the project.

Kaden Tower Complex
Photo: Pat Smith

The reign of the Lincoln Tower came to an end in 1986. An acquisition by another firm led to a property sale, a new owner, and the current name – Kaden Tower. Easy to find at 6100 Dutchman’s Lane, this salmon beauty is well worth a visit.

Property Type: Commercial
Year Built: 1966
Sq. Footage: unknown

Kaden Tower Detail

Photo: Pat Smith

Auditorium - Ground Level Kaden Tower

Photo: Pat Smith