The Cornerstone, a first-ever mixed-use parking, education and retail facility designed to fuel innovation and foster creativity is home to 900 new parking spaces, the University of Kentucky eSports, a flexible innovation zone and 10,000 SF of private retail space.
“The Cornerstone”, reflecting the building’s role as a gateway to an emerging innovation district further links the university and city.
Sherman Carter Barnhart wanted the space to be a “face” of the university for parents, prospective students, and others visiting the campus, as well as a place that area residents and students would associate with the future of the school and innovation.
Our solution was to build onto the existing Parking Structure 5 (designed by Sherman Carter Barnhart) and incorporate not only parking and retail but an open innovation education area that would encourage collaboration.
At the street level, several retail spaces, outdoor dining, and streetscaping were incorporated to give the structure an inviting and energizing view of the campus. This is a space for the campus and community to gather to exchange ideas, exercise innovation and experience local food and drinks at The Cornerstone Exchange, which is committed to featuring homegrown, Kentucky-based companies.
Working with the university, we created an unstructured educational space, the Innovative Development Lab, where students could come to learn, experiment and have fun. We crafted this space to be a wide-open space with a garage feel. The space leverages this open-format and use of technology to foster outcome-and-solution-driven thinking and design, connect people with different passions and interests and provide new pathways for career development in entrepreneurial fields.
To draw more traffic to the area, we opted to insert an eSports arena. The “eStadium”, provides 100 retractable theater-style seats and a gamers lounge offering more than 50 PC-based gaming units and multiple console-play areas. Couch “co-ops” offer students couches and consoles to relax and game alone or with friends. The flexible use of the facility will allow the community to engage in a variety of activities, including eSports competitions, and an area for spectators and eSportscasters.
To solidify the draw of the area, we wrapped the corner of the building with a digital panel media wall. Broadcasting UK-themed elements, the display will turn that corner of Lexington into a mini Times Square – an advertisement for what is going on at the school, as well as a digital presence of the innovation taking place inside the walls of the Cornerstone.