On KU’s campus, the new question is: What does that bike rack spell?

photo by: Nick Krug

A bike rack located at the University of Kansas' new Prairie Acre Ribbon Classroom is drawing attention because of the unintended arrangement of its letters.

The University of Kansas has drawn some unexpected attention on social media in recent days, not for its basketball team or the bigwigs in Strong Hall but for, of all things, a bike rack.

If you’re unfamiliar with the jokes circulating around Facebook, here’s the gist: Last week, students enrolled in the School of Architecture’s 509 Design + Build Studio class unveiled their latest project, the Prairie Acre Ribbon Classroom. One feature of the outdoor learning space, located on the south side of Watson Library, is the aforementioned bike rack, which features the project’s acronym, PARC, in floating metal letters.

The problem? Depending on which way you approach the bike rack from, the letters appear to spell out CRAP, not PARC, as many pointed out over social media in the days since the project’s unveiling.

“The mischievous part of me wanted to sneak up on the hill and rearrange the Prairie Acre Ribbon Classroom sign lettering,” Nicholas Lerner wrote in a Facebook post. “I didn’t get a chance before they were installed, though upon seeing the finished product, I didn’t have to. I think it looks like….”

Another user said he preferred to “think someone has a great sense of humor,” seemingly suggesting the letter arranging must have been intentional.

A KU spokesperson wasn’t immediately available to clear that issue up or provide other comment about the bike rack’s growing notoriety. Whether intentional or not, it’s certainly brought some attention to the PARC project, which in addition to the bike rack features a nice array of seating built out of stonework, landscaping and some small-scale metal sculpture work.

According to the project’s LaunchKU page, PARC was designed as “a testament to the natural landscape and topography of Kansas” still found scattered across KU’s modern-day campus. The guiding force for the design, the students wrote, was the existing Prairie Acre south of Watson Library, designated in 1932 by KU alumnus and biochemistry professor C.F. Nelson and restored by the Environmental Studies department in 2014.

The months-long project, guided by associate professor Paola Sanguinetti, was designed and built by students in her 509 Design + Build Studio class in the School of Architecture. It’s billed in official literature as “the first outdoor classroom at the University of Kansas.”

photo by: Nick Krug

A bike rack located at the University of Kansas’ new Prairie Acre Ribbon Classroom is pictured Thursday, May 17, 2018.


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