Ky., Dec. 6, 2006 - The striking plans for Museum Plaza, which were unveiled
on February 9th in Louisville, have since received high acclaim both internationally
and throughout the nation. Now, for the first time, a deeper look into
Museum Plaza, its expanding development team, and its many components is
being revealed, including a world-renowned landscape architect and Director
of Museum Development and a new Westin Hotel.
A new international member of the Museum Plaza planning team arrived
in Louisville on Monday welcomed by the art and business community. Chris
Dercon, Director of the Haus der Kunst in Munich, Germany, is noted for
his experience in transforming older museums into vibrant community centers
of art. Dercon previously served as Director of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
and of Witte de With Centre for Contemporary Art (both in Rotterdam, a
port city in the Netherlands). Dercon also curated a wide-range of international
programs during the 1990s and will divide his time commuting between Louisville
and Munich. Additionally, Dercon worked as a freelance broadcaster, curator
and critic in the early 1980s, and later as Program Director at the Institute
of Contemporary Arts, PSI Museum and the Clocktower Gallery in New York.
He also freelances as a director of art and culture documentaries.
Included in Museum Plaza will be a 246-room Westin Hotel, to include
a ballroom, fitness center, spa, three-meal restaurant and a bar/lounge.
On their website Westin describes their hotels as, "redefining efficient
service with an effortless style and gracious attitude that ensures a truly
unforgettable experience." There are more than 120 Westins, including 30
of the world's finest resorts, all architecturally inspiring, thoughtfully
designed and located in the world's most exciting cities and sumptuous
With plans for a public park along the waterfront, the development
team called upon Adriaan Geuze of WEST 8. Established in 1987, the Rotterdam-based
practice has worked on major landscape and planning projects all over the
world, often-in collaboration with Ramus-Ella Architects (REX), the lead
designer for Museum Plaza. WEST 8 projects include master planning for
the Olympic Village in London, Courtyard for the Victoria & Albert
Museum in London, the Buona Park in Singapore, and the Luxury Village in
Designed by world-renowned architects Joshua Prince-Ramus and Erez
Ella, Museum Plaza will be a work of art itself and serve as an international
icon extending and connecting the arts and entertainment corridor in Louisville.
Ramus and Ella are partners in the newly formed REX Architect group.
At a cost of $465 million, Museum Plaza is expected to bring more than
$900 million annually to Kentucky's economy, with a projected human traffic
rate of 10,500 people a day. The construction of Museum Plaza will employ
an average of 561 full-time employees for a continuous three-year period,
with more than 1,200 workers per day at the peak work period on site.
"Museum Plaza will put the exclamation point on a growing, exciting
downtown. It will be an economic catalyst for our hometown and our Commonwealth,"
said Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson after reviewing the design and newest
components of Museum Plaza.
Museum Plaza is the vision of Louisville residents Laura Lee Brown,
Steve Wilson, Steve Poe and Craig Greenberg, who share a common passion
for downtown revitalization. The planning of Museum Plaza began in 2006
and the construction will begin in summer 2007; it is expected to last
through fall of 2010. During construction, the existing facades of 615-621
West Main Street will be re-furbished and transformed into retail space,
and River Road will be expanded west to connect to 8th street.
"My administration is committed to Museum Plaza and to the city of
Louisville," said Governor Ernie Fletcher. "I am committed to making Kentucky's
cities the dynamic engine of economic opportunity we need to compete in
the 21st century. This progressive initiative is a key component in our
efforts to keep moving Kentucky forward."
"No single component of this building by itself is big, but when all
components are combined, this building becomes both unique and immense,"
said Steve Poe, a member of the Museum Plaza development team. "Just like
many people have collaborated to create this design, many people, including
our elected officials, have come together to make this building a reality.
It shows that when good people work together, great things can be accomplished
for our City and the Commonwealth."
To accommodate the increased traffic in the west main area, the project
will include an 800-car parking structure. In addition, the project plans
to add lanes to 8th Street, add to and reconfigure the floodwall and extend
River Road west.