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Putting Science On Display


UK Jacobs Science Building

The University of Kentucky - the commonwealth’s flagship university - experienced a rise in enrollment in its science program as the building housing much of that department’s activity continued to show its age. To reaffirm UK’s commitment to excellence in science, the University decided to build a new facility to accommodate that growth while providing a cutting-edge classroom experience where students can thrive.

When JRA Architects was selected as architect of record, we committed to researching other state-of-the-art academic facilities across the country and to re-imagining how UK students and faculty could study, teach, learn and collaborate together.


“The new science building integrates teaching and research, makes science visible, and has sparked the joy of learning.”

Mark Lawrence Kornbluh
Dean of the UK College of Arts & Sciences.


Put Science On Display

In an effort to help raise interest in the subject, the space needed to utilize transparency to help “put science on display”.

Create A Recruiting Tool

While the primary function of the facility is to allow people to learn and collaborate in a meaningful way, the University also wanted a space with enough allure to entice the brightest students and faculty to call UK home.

Integrate New Technologies

To maximize the student and faculty experience, our goal was to utilize technology-enabled learning wherever possible and to provide enough flexibility in design to integrate tomorrow’s yet-imagined technologies into the building.

Minimize Environmental Impacts

Sustainability is one of college students’ most important issues, therefore integrating sustainable design considerations, materials and equipment was critical to the success of the building.

What resulted is a new epicenter for University of Kentucky’s scientific community.


The openness we created in the space throughout the interior and to and from the exterior serves to illuminate the building while simultaneously displaying the beauty of science for all to see.

Sustainable Design

The Jacobs Science Building has achieved LEED Silver (NC-2009) Certification, a testament to our efforts to integrate eco-friendly designs and energy efficiency when possible.

Technology-Enabled Learning

By Integrating state-of-the-art equipment, collaborative lab environments, technology enhanced active learning (TEAL) classrooms, and other features, students will be better equipped for STEM-related careers in tomorrow’s workplaces.

The Jacobs Science Building boasts some impressive features...

40 percent of the building’s exterior is constructed with glass, affording the classrooms abundant daylight and reducing the need for artificial light.

Two state-of-the-art lecture halls, one with 300 seats and the other with 200 seats, both designed to maximize line of sight and acoustics.

The exterior courtyard offers two outdoor classrooms with natural slate chalkboards and geological features that allow students a more immersive learning experience.

Each classroom was designed with the student and faculty in mind, affording a more collaborative active-learning environment.

But what excites us the most is

the positive impact we’re able to make on the 35,000 students and faculty that interact in this building every year.


“What makes me most proud is the number of STEM students we’re able to effectively inspire each year and the impact that can and will have on our region’s economy.”

Rob Deal
AIA, LEED AP, President, JRA Architects

At JRA we celebrate making learning more fun. Ready to start a conversation about your education project?