Buzzworthy Design

Words: Dan Kamys

By Cory Sekine-Pettite

Images courtesy of Phebus Photography/EOP Architects

The Apiary Lexington Kentucky
The Apiary in Lexington, Ky., is a new, popular event space.

There’s a new architectural gem in Lexington, Ky., that is getting national attention. The Apiary is a catering company and 15,500-square-foot event space on Jefferson Street in the so-called “Horse Capital of the World’s” emerging restaurant district. While the food and service from Cooper and Mandy Vaughan’s kitchen deserves praise (and it has many times), it is the design of the Apiary’s brick and stone facility that is turning heads from the media including Garden & Gun magazine, Keeneland magazine, and Sophisticated Living magazine.

The Apiary Lexington Kentucky brick stone
The brick wall entrance

The Apiary Lexington Kentucky brick stone
There are beautiful vistas at every turn.

The project, led by architect Brent Bruner, AIA, LEED AP (with interiors by Matthew Carter and gardens by Jon Carloftis) “was constructed using craftsmanship rarely seen in today’s building industry,” according to EOP Architects’ Marketing Director, Mark Henderson Thompson. Design and construction of the Apiary began in 2008 when the Vaughans found an abandoned, burned-out warehouse (the former home of a theatrical special-effects company) that they envisioned as a high-end event space. That must have been some vision, since only one brick wall remained of what was once the Star Light & Magic building. The idea was to marry industrial and natural, urban and rural, the couple said. And they found a team led by EOP to bring it all together.

The Apiary Lexington Kentucky brick stone courtyard
Guests can mingle in the brick and stone courtyard.

The Apiary Lexington Kentucky brick stone hardscaping
There’s plenty of room for outdoor entertaining.
The Apiary Lexington Kentucky brick stone
A peek at the cozy Winter Room

Construction took about 14 months. Bruner said brick and stone selection was made in tandem with the owners, and they preferred to use as much re-claimed material on the project as possible. Thus, salvage materials are a big part of the design: Reclaimed brick, wood flooring, and beams came from the owner’s old tobacco warehouses; stone was salvaged from a farm that belongs to the owner’s uncle; and pavers were once part of a barn at Hamburg Place horse farm, which produced four Derby winners, four Belmont Stakes winners, and the very first Triple Crown winner. The brick and stone courtyard walls are accented with custom wrought iron created by artists Matthew and Karine Maynard of Maynard Studios. Massive pine doors came from Argentina, and two antique stone fountains in the courtyard are from Europe. The Apiary may look old – or old-world – but everything was constructed in the last three years.

According to EOP, this unrivaled event space features a farm-to-table experience for intimate or expansive entertaining. Guests are greeted by a brick-walled garden that hides the 8,100-square-foot main building from traffic noise while providing a secluded and exclusive setting for entertaining. The 2,000-square-foot “Orangerie” dining room with enormous skylight and 18-foot-tall windows seats 150 guests. The cozy Winter Room (cocktail lounge) and Tasting Room with custom, marble-fronted bar provide intimate spaces while the Wine Cellar showcases a vast collection. There are multiple outdoor venues as well, with vegetable and herb gardens, and custom wrought iron is integrated throughout the space. A French limestone terrace spans the back of the building.

The Apiary Lexington Kentucky brick stone Orangerie dining room
The sun-kissed Orangerie dining room

The Apiary Lexington Kentucky brick stone
Custom wrought iron can be found throughout the Apiary.

Needless to say, all of this elegant design did present EOP with challenges. “Designing this building to have clean, simple lines required a great amount of detailing and custom details that are hidden from view in the finished work,” said Bruner. “One major challenge was connecting the new construction to the existing structure in a seamless way. For example, the new masonry interior wall of the Orangerie needed to appear flush above the existing exterior masonry wall. This new wall was increasing the height of the existing wall by about 12 feet. As it was not known how much weight could be added onto the existing wall, the new wall had to have its exterior brick face cantilevered over the existing wall. The structure required to make this happen resulted in the arches along the interior of the room.”

In the end, it all worked out, of course, and the people of Lexington have an amazing, new event space thanks to the Vaughans, EOP Architects, and the rest of the construction team. “There was a passion for quality and craftsmanship exhibited by everyone on the team that I have rarely seen on a project,” Bruner said. “I think the craftsmanship and quality of the entire team is evident in the final product.”



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