The first of the award-winning 21c Museum Hotels, 21c Louisville is a radical re-envisioning of five contiguous 19th century warehouse buildings in Louisville’s historic downtown district. Our straightforward, modern insertions weave the five buildings together, highlighting elements of the original fabric and providing opportunities to display dramatic, large-scale contemporary art.
The most significant of our transformations is a five-story atrium cut through the center of the site, above which a new steel truss supports an original party wall. The atrium brings natural light to interior-facing guest rooms and culminates in a grand event space on the lowest level of the building.
Exposed structural brick wall, stripped and featuring lighting installation.
The hotel has been overwhelmingly popular. The attention it has received, as well as that of its restaurant Proof on Main, has contributed significantly to downtown Louisville’s revival.
Key People
Stephen Brockman
Project Lead
Terrence Schroeder
Project Manager
Collaborators

Deborah Berke Partners

Design Architect, Interior Design

K. Norman Berry Associates Architects PLLC

Executive Architect

Stanley D. Lindsey and Associates

Structural Engineer

Kerr-Greulich Engineers, Inc.

MEP Engineer

Renfro Design Group, Inc.

Lighting Design

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Recognition

#1 Best U.S. Hotel and #6 Best Hotel in the World

Conde Nast Traveler

Best Hotel - Best of Year Awards

Interior Design Magazine

Global Vision Award

Travel Leisure

Drawings

Bird's eye photograph of building site and context
Floor plan.
Ground floor plan.
Guest room floor plan.
Building section.
Exploded axonometric drawing outlining building program.
Series of 20 small sketches of interior and exterior views.
At the project’s onset, the original buildings on site – five contiguous historic buildings from the 19th century – had been vacant for over 20 years without any modern electrical, plumbing, mechanical or fire protection systems. They had housed the Falls City Tobacco Bank building and the G. Schurmann Wholesale Saddler, beautiful examples of commercial architecture done in a Renaissance Revival style, and while the series of buildings form a cohesive whole, the distinctive character of each is still legible on the façade.
Landscape
Our design sought to respect the buildings’ history, ensuring that existing masonry walls and architectural details were framed in public spaces to reveal the space’s original warehouse character. By adaptively reusing a preexisting structure, this project provides a socially and environmentally sustainable model for the continuing revitalization of Louisville’s historic downtown.
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