August 18, 2005
Louisville, Kentuckys skyline,
and the cultural profile of the community, is primed to become
a lot more interesting in coming years. The New York office
of OMA is slated to build a new mixed-use tower downtown,
including a 40,000 square foot contemporary art museum, student
housing, office space, condominiums, and retail space.
Joshua Prince-Ramus, a partner of Rem
Koolhaas and the lead designer of the Seattle Public Library,
will lead the project, which is expected to be at least 20
stories, though it could be significantly taller. Two prominent
local philanthropists, Steve Wilson and Laura Lee Brown, and
a real estate developer, Steve Poe, are the forces behind
the project. Wilson and Brown, who are married, are also developing
a boutique hotel a block away designed by Deborah Berke. My
wife and I have been interested in the redevelopment of Main
Street for several years now, says Wilson. We
are happy to be working with what we believe to be the best
architecture firm in the world.
The site is a small parcel of land on
a sloping site between Main Street and the Ohio River adjacent
to an interstate highway in the rivers flood plane.
The new Muhammad Ali Center, designed by Beyer Blinder Belle,
which will be completed this fall, is located next to the
site. The project quickly gained the support of city and state
government, which pleased OMA. The more interesting
work seems to be happening in Red States right now, the places
that cultured America has written off, says
Prince-Ramus. It should be a wake up call for the coasts.
A phase one conceptual design is expected in about six months,
and the developers hope to complete the project within three