Children’s Museum Competition

Citation for Merit

The design for the Louisville Children’s Museum Competition was anchored by a continuous promenade that gives shape to a new park space and children museum on a developing edge of the city center. The path encourages community interaction and promotes outdoor urban activity by linking together a series of varied spaces and experiences into a common narrative.

The design is both a poetic and pragmatic response to the particularities of the site and the demands of a museum for children. Entrances to the museum are located across from the Brown Theater on Broadway and the alley facing the existing library, allowing a secondary axis to emerge that strengthens the presence of each institution. The structure maintains a near-transparent ground floor, providing visual access to the curiosities of the space day and night.

The split-level floors are connected by a continuous ramp that creates the opportunity for exhibition spaces of varied heights and allows visitors to comfortably navigate the building by traversing only half the typical floor-to-floor height. The open air atrium that emerges between the angled ramps is the character-defining element of the museum interior. The ramp’s heroic geometry reinforces the museum’s connectedness to the path of outdoor park space and to the community the museum is intended to serve.

A diaphanous chartreuse exterior scrim selectively admits light to the building’s interior while lending the museum an easily recognizable identity. The exterior surface treatment of the building provides a counterpoint to the fluidity of the ramp, and its broken matrix is driven by the varied programmatic needs of the museum’s interior.

By focusing on access, procession, and urban connection, the Louisville Discovery Path marks the revitalization of an important link between downtown and Old Louisville.