Parallel walls give identity to a museum, park, and office building, defining a new district in downtown Louisville. In the Children’s Museum, circulation ramps wind through a series of parallel walls. Every wall is a façade defined by arched openings. Some walls thicken to accommodate stair and elevator cores, mechanical shafts, bathrooms, and service spaces.

The timeless language of the arched walls evokes aqueducts and basilicas. Architecturally specific but not programmatically didactic, the resultant spaces can be inhabited in a variety of ways and can accommodate future change. As programming and exhibitions continually evolve within this environment, its inherent spatial variety creates a sense of discovery and play.

The patterns of arched openings create a variety of spatial types:
• Hypostyle hall for office and play
• Linear gallery spaces between the walls connected by enfilade
• Figural spaces “carved” out of the walls
• Tall, expansive play atrium created by multistory arched openings

The sense of the museum as a continuously inhabited, ad-hoc environment is reinforced by the reading of each wall as a façade, creating a playful city to explore in three dimensions. As children move along the ramp, they encounter and pass through these elevations, each threshold revealing new experiences and vistas.

The walls’ rhythm adjusts to defer to its climatic and urban context, creating deep brise-soleils on the south façade with long views across the park. The technology incubator building employs the same parallel wall tectonic in a more regular arrangement to create a flexible commercial/office space.

Museum, Park, Tech. incubator
Site plan: Museum, Park, Tech. incubator

parallel facades
Exploded Axonometric: parallel facades

View of museum from W. Broadway 

hypostyle, enfilade, figure, scale
Wall diagram: hypostyle, enfilade, figure, scale

View from play atrium 

Plan - below grade parking 

Plan - Level 1 

Plan - Level 2 

Plan - Level 3 

Plan - Level 4 

View of museum from park 

Section 1 

Section 2 

View from level 4 gallery 

View at W. Broadway entrance