King Records was an independent recording studio, founded in 1943 in the Evanston neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio. It was at one point the sixth largest record company in the United States, representing artists such as James Brown, Bonnie Lou, The Stanley Brothers, and Otis Williams and The Charms. Though the company closed in 1971, the site still stands, and was even given a historical marker by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008. The Cincinnati musical community and the Evanston neighborhood community wished to revitalize and restore King Records' legacy, leading the University of Cincinnati's School of Architecture and Interior Design to participate in a design studio experience to research King Records' history and to submit design proposals to repurpose the King Records site.
The resultant illustrative documentation is captured in The King Records Legacy: Acts I, II, III, providing an encapsulating history of King Records' influence in America's mid-twentieth century music culture, as well as the visions of eight renovation design proposals for the King Records historic site. The King Records Legacy; Acts I, II, III gives an account of the semester-long immersive study by fourth-year architecture and interior design students to decipher the racially divided mid-twentieth century social culture and the emergence of King Records as a unique melting pot of diverse artists and musical genres of early American vernacular pop music. Next, the students translate their findings into cohesive architectural proposals for a musical community center. Eight design proposals produced by eight collaborative teams map out visions for renovating the historic King Records site to a community venue offering a view of King's historic position in contemporary music history and a facility for music education and the promotion of musical arts.