Handy House subject of national competition

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By The Staff

A group of University of Kentucky graduate students are using the Handy Farm house as an entry in a national competition for measured drawings.

Three students are working on detailed drawings for the Peterson Prize, named for Charles E. Peterson who founded the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) program.

The HABS program, which is part of the National Park Service, the Athenaeum of Philadelphia and the American Institute of Architects, sponsor the prize.

The Peterson Prize annually recognizes the best set of measured drawings prepared to HABS standards and donated to HABS by students.

One of the things the students were looking for was a structure which had some age, but had changed over time, said the students sponsor, UK assistant professor Mike Spencer.

The Peterson Prize, he added, looks for some type of interesting component which may not be there in more of a straight forward structure.

This structure really tells a story, said Spencer. This ended up being a great candidate for that.

The notion that structures shouldnt change over a long period of time is something of a myth, said Spencer.

You look at a lot of the antebellum you see coming out of Mississippi, Alabama and even Kentucky - the majority of those at some point, if you break them down, evolved from a single pen (room) structure or a smaller structure on that lot, he said, noting there are exceptions.

Its those changes that Mark Ramler, Andrew Stempel and Joey Klare will draw out and document.

Starting last Monday, the three began measuring and sketching and will continue their work until next spring when the nominations are due.

The scope of the prize looks for detail in the drawings which show a structures evolution.

Were looking at quarter-inch accuracy when we do these drawings, said Spencer.

Billy Fowler, of the committee to save the Handy House, said part of the groups focus is to determine where and when the changes began and if possible come up with a timeline.

Spencer said the up close and personal nature of the work will lend itself to finding this information.

This building has it all, he said, noting the houses long history helps make it interesting.

The Peterson Prize is intended to increase awareness, knowledge and appreciation of historic buildings throughout the United States while adding to the permanent HABS collection of measured drawings at the Library of Congress.

To date, more than 2,000 students from 68 colleges and universities have participated by completing more than 500 entries and almost 5,000 sheets of measured drawings.

The students have worked alone and in groups, in required courses, electives, independent study and summer institutes. They have been, for the most part, architecture students in addition to architectural history, interior design, and American studies majors.

Award amounts are as follows: First place, $3,000 and a certificate; second place, $2,500 and a certificate; third place, $2,000 and a certificate; and fourth place, $1,500 and a certificate.

There is also an honorable mention certificate.