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Designing a Louisville Children’s Museum, Revitalizing a Downtown Edge

About the Exhibition

Juried Competition organized by Competitions Magazine
Exhibition of award-winning entries at 21c Louisville
February 20 – April 1, 2014

This February, 21c Louisville will present an exhibition of award-winning proposals for a children’s museum. Over 100 entries will be reviewed by a prestigious jury of architectural and urban planning professionals, including Sylvia Smith, senior partner at FxFowle Architects, and Michael Speaks, dean of the school of architecture at University of Syracuse, and former dean of the College of Design at the University of Kentucky. Following the jury’s selection on February 18, the top proposals will be exhibited at 21c Louisville for the public to view.

Designing a Louisville Children’s Museum, Revitalizing a Downtown Edge is an international ideas competition sponsored by the local chapters of the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) and the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Louisville is one of the few cities of its size without a museum dedicated specifically to children between the ages of 2-13, and this museum is to be considered as a model to fill that vacuum.

Recently, the City of Louisville has begun to target the area at the edge of the downtown core for revitalization, starting with Broadway, and extending south to Old Louisville. Although the area does include some important institutions, such as Spalding University, Bridgehaven Mental Health Services, numerous churches and housing for the elderly, it lacks in density and urban activity. By implementing a strong program at the edge, with the Children’s Museum as an iconic arrival factor, and the addition of important design elements across Second Street to fill two gaps now used as parking lots, this project could be an important building block for neighborhood revitalization, over and beyond the targeted site. Bringing more traffic to the site should eventually result in more retail and commercial amenities. Located next to the city’s main public library, the museum could draw on the large numbers of children accompanied by their parents visiting the library. Until now, most of the development and investment in the city has been concentrated in the downtown area bordering the Ohio River.

The competition, which currently includes more than 200 entries from 29 countries, seeks innovative ideas, both in the programmatic organization of the museum itself, as well as in the building’s architectural expression. In addition, circulation throughout the entire site and the museum’s relationship to its neighbors, the main library and the other designated buildings in the program, is essential.
Scott Melching , AIA, FxFowle Architects, New York office
Michael Mounayar, Associate Dean, School of Architecture, Ball State University
Susan Szenasy, Editor, METROPOLIS magazine, New York
Carol Drucker, Principal, Drucker Zajdel Structural Engineers, Inc., Naperville, Illinois
Leigh Breslau, AIA, Trahan Architects, Chicago Studio
Marc L’Italien, FAIA, Principal, EHDD, San Francisco


Panel Participants
Kevin Fennell, AIA, GBBN Architects, Louisville, KY, Competition alternate juror
Brian Koetter, AIA, Stengel Hill Architects, Louisville, KY, AIA/CSI Competition Committee
Lawrence Timperman, AIA, Michell Timperman Ritz Artchitects, new Albany, IN, AIA/CSI Competition Committee
Gretchen Milliken, SA, Deputy Director Advanced Planning, Louisville Metro Government
Moderator: G. Stanley Collyer, Editor, Competitions


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