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Louisville, Kentucky



wHY Architects


Calhoun Construction Services



This $27.0 M project is a 3-story, with basement, addition to the existing museum that was constructed in 1927. It is designed to be a state-of-the-art facility to house the museum’s growing collection. The design concept for the building massing is three stacked boxes, with the upper boxes offset from the boxes below. To accomplish this, it was necessary to utilize two full-story-height trusses at level 2 to cantilever 45 feet to support the northeast corner of the second floor, third floor, and roof (which cantilevers another 10 feet beyond the third floor). Careful attention was given to structure depth to give the appearance of stacked boxes, with the soffit beneath the third floor overhang matching the elevation of the roof over the second floor.


In addition to the multiple cantilevers, the structure features a custom designed structural steel curtain wall system, a large retractable overhead door to create an open air lecture hall/auditorium during suitable weather, a glass bottom bridge connecting the addition to the existing museum, a stair built integrally with the curtain wall and a shallow water feature surrounding the building at the ground floor level. The roof over the lecture hall is designed to accommodate outdoor seating/gathering. The structure consists of a steel frame utilizing steel joists at the roof and composite steel beams at each floor level. The core of the building has reinforced concrete walls for the stairs, elevators and mechanical chases. These walls, in addition to the expressed concrete walls for the auditorium, serve as shear walls to provide the lateral bracing system for the building. The building is founded on end-bearing auger-cast concrete piles.


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