LOUISVILLE, KY.- The Board of Trustees of The Speed Art Museum announced today the appointment of wHY Architecture led by principal Kulapat Yantrasast, working with his partners Yo Hakomori and Richard Stoner, to revitalize and expand its historic museum complex in Louisville, Kentucky.
Charles L. Venable, Director of The Speed Art Museum, commented, In our initial meeting, Kulapat had an immediate understanding of how to clarify our complicated existing campus, punctuated by thoughtful expansion. The synergy between wHY, the staff, and our trustees, was immediate and exciting. Venable went on to say, Louisville is fast becoming one of the nations great vibrant cities. Its crucial that the region have an engaging museum to match. wHY Architecture is the ideal choice.
Los Angeles-based wHY Architecture commissions include, The Grand Rapids Art Museum - the first new art museum in the world to receive the LEED Gold certification and featured in Newsweek as one of the best buildings of 2007 (Well Built, Dec 21, 2007), the redesign and space allocations of existing galleries at the Art Institute of Chicago and the renovation and expansion of the historic Venice, California Jail into the new Social and Public Art Resource Center. Current cultural projects include the environmentally sustainable Art Bridge, at the Great Wall of Los Angeles River, made mostly from the trash salvaged from the river itself. wHY Architecture has also maintained architectural collaboration with Tadao Ando on significant museums and residential projects in the US.
Museums around the world have become victim of their own growth, getting bigger, fatter and congestedly unhealthy, said Yantrasast. A museum's growth should not mean merely adding new wings or new limbs to the old museum body. Museum expansion or development should be like acupuncture architecture; precise intervention or transformation strategically focused towards critical areas to regain the sense of clarity to the overall organization."
Yantrasast worked as a close associate and project architect for the Pritzker Prize laureate architect Tadao Ando on several major museums and large institutional projects in the United States and around the world, including the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas, the ARMANI/TEATRO for Giorgio Armani in Milan, Italy, the Foundation Francois Pinault for Contemporary Art in Paris, France, the Calder Museum project in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Richard Stoner, Project Architect for The Speed, previously served as Project Architect, with celebrated architect Richard Meier, for The Getty Center, Los Angeles, California.
Owsley Brown II, Chair of the Building Committee, has high praise for Yantrasast and his staff. We are extremely pleased to have found in wHY Architecture designs that are both beautiful and practical, built with materials of high aesthetic quality and sensible cost. Their accomplishment in the world of green design will make the Speeds expansion efficient to operate for years to come.
The Speed is one of the nations comprehensive, encyclopedic art museums housing more than 13,000 works of art. It is at the crossroads of the University of Louisvilles main campus with as many as 5,000 students a day traversing the Museums grounds. The original building on site was designed by Louisville architect Arthur Loomis and opened in 1927.
The multi-year planning process that underlies the current expansion includes visits to 50 museums around the world and an alternative location vs. existing space study. In 2005, the Board unanimously voted to remain at the current location. The expansion is expected to give a meaningful increase in square footage and a major reorganization of the existing complex network of galleries. Work is expected to be completed by late 2012.