Located in an 1890 authentic cast-iron building along Louisville’s West Main Historic District, the core purpose of the Kentucky Museum of Art + Craft (KMAC) is to educate the public and to inspire, connect, and promote local artists.
Comprised of 5 floors, the museum’s new facility allowed all areas of museum programming to expand considerably. Surmounting significant budgetary and structural restraints, Chu ¬ Gooding (in cooperation with local associate architect Michael Koch & Associates) provided a design commensurate with the client’s creativity and vision.
The challenge of the museum is its dual identity on the street: a tug of war of real estate between presenting the museum or the sales gallery, a primary source of income.
By placing administrative and auxiliary functions on the basement, third, and fourth levels, we were able to dedicate the first and second floors almost exclusively to exhibition.
The distinction between the museum and its contents blurs in the architectural detailing. A long art-glass wall draws visitors to a sculptural stair-bench combination that launches the gallery sequence.
Local glass artists, woodworkers and blacksmiths collaborated in the articulation of the atrium carved from the original heavy timber flooring and in the outfitting of the entry lobby and galleries.
The resulting memorable environment is a holistic immersion of architecture, art and craft for the museum visitor.