For Louisville’s 21c Museum Hotel, the team set out to transform five contiguous, historic, 19th-century tobacco and bourbon warehouses. (Brick and cast iron buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places). The resultant project, a boutique hotel and free contemporary art museum, makes Louisville, and its historic downtown arts and theater district, an even more vibrant place to live, work, and visit.
A new atrium with exposed trusses carves into the historic building, bringing natural light into the interior-facing rooms. A doubleheight, museum-quality art gallery opens a new space off the lower lobby level.
To create guest rooms, a restaurant, meeting rooms, and exhibition space for the contemporary works of art, we used precise interventions into the historic building’s structural walls to liberate new spatial opportunities in the existing, narrow warehouse shells. The outcome is one of resolved contrasts. The textures and colors of the historic warehouse play against the bold contemporary design details and the art collection.
The seamless yet variegated interior experiences present visitors with interwoven layers of history, material, color and texture: cast iron columns and milk glass railings; warm furnishings in rich fabrics; natural woods with exposed brick. Historical materials mingle and play with environmentally innovative and sensitive ones.