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.
The choice of this site for the competition is intended to address the following issues:
• 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. More 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.
The competition, open to both professionals and students, will seek 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 neighbor, i.e., the main library and the other designated buildings in the program, is essential.