The re-envisioning of the famous Rupp Arena presented us with a myriad of opportunities. Should Lexington’s downtown gravitate west in search of a connection to the emerging Distillery District, the arena would be in an extremely desirable position mediating the transition between east and west downtown, while connecting to the UK campus.
At first glance, Rupp appears lost in its surroundings. Considering it as a place of pride in Lexington’s sports culture, its identity is poorly defined. The laminated shopping center on its northern and eastern perimeters lie spatially and programmatically dormant, while the arena’s public area to the west offers little inspiration to the fervent UK Wildcat supporters. We propose #FREE_RUPP, giving it a new identity as a center for the downtown district.