On January 30th of 2016 the historic stockyards near downtown Lexington caught fire and burned. Almost all of the 10-acre property was destroyed. Blue Grass Stockyards (BGS) came to Nomi in mid-February to discuss rebuilding a new state-of-the-art facility on a complex site in Fayette County. We worked quickly and collaboratively with BGS to develop a design that re-invents the idea of what stockyards can be. Just eight months later, in September, 2016 we broke ground on a new site near the Kentucky Horse Park.
The new Lexington stockyards is a complex and unique type of facility that pairs time-tested methods of operation with leading trends in agribusiness. Similar to the other facilities owned by BGS, the new public building houses stockyards administrative and sales offices, a sales arena and café. But there are also new functions added which will alter their business model and transform how BGS interfaces with the public. The Lexington location now has dedicated areas for media services and internet sales, leasable space for agricultural retailers and even a museum and education center where the public can learn about the history and operations of the cattle business. While streamlining sales operations, the new Lexington location will also nurture a new type of relationship with the community and make Blue Grass Stockyards a key player in agritourism, one of the fastest growing segments of the travel industry.
We worked closely with BGS to develop an architectural style specific to their brand. In order to recreate the ‘magic’ of the original sales arena, we studied its dimensions, proportions and sight lines and incorporated those into the new design. We also re-purposed the original brick pavers from the old stockyards for the main entry hall floor of the new sales building; a modern, double- height space filled with daylight and lined with retail storefronts. By melding historical elements and agricultural visual cues with modern proportions and materials we designed Blue Grass Stockyards’ new location in a style we like to call ‘AgMo’ or Agricultural Modern; a style we feel expresses their history while supporting their forward-thinking business approach.