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Speed Art Museum Expansion


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Sara Johnson, Hanley Wood Media

Project Name

Speed Art Museum Expansion

Project Status


Year Completed



261,360 sq. feet


Speed Art Museum


  • K. Norman Berry Associates Architects





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The expanded Speed Art Museum opened on March 12, 2016.

Text by Katie Gerfen (July 7, 2011)

The Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Ky., is planning a 200,000-square-foot expansion and renovation, all within the confines of its existing 6-acre site. The expansion includes new gallery spaces as well as a new entry sequence and a 3.5-acre greenspace with a Wi-Fi–enabled plaza and sculpture garden. A new theater space will provide room for lectures and musical performances and opens up onto the plaza for additional seating. A successful renovation and expansion should feel like “acupuncture,” says Kulapat Yantrasast, Assoc. AIA, partner in charge of the project. “Of course there’s an operation involved. But it’s not like a face-lift or adding another body, but adding a sense of clarity from within.” Fundraising for the project is ongoing.

Project Description


The Speed Art Museum is Kentucky’s oldest and largest art museum, sited on historic Third Street designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and adjacent to the University of Louisville’s 345-acre Belknap campus. In 2009, wHY was commissioned to imagine the museum’s original 1927 neoclassical building, as well as to develop and execute a comprehensive strategy for physical, curatorial and programmatic growth and expansion.

The primary concept of the Speed’s re-design is “Acupuncture Architecture,” a blend of careful and precise interventions that will reinvigorate the entire campus and user experience. The new 60,000 sq ft North Building will double the overall square footage and nearly triple the gallery space from the existing building.

Upon completion, The Speed will have a state-of-the-art space for larger special exhibitions, new contemporary art galleries, a family education welcome center, a combined indoor/outdoor café, a museum shop, and a multi-functional pavilion for performances, lectures and entertainment.

Additionally, the new Elizabeth P. and Frederick K. Cressman Art Park and public piazza will exhibit outdoor sculpture and engage University of Louisville students, faculty and museum visitors.
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