The 21c Museum Hotel, Louisville began as a project for two art collectors who wanted to revitalize downtown Louisville by investing in a hotel and who also wanted to display their collection of contemporary art. The design challenge was to design a boutique hotel as well as a place to display art within a set of four, contiguous, historic buildings.
The project consists of a ninety-room, full service hotel, a 6,000 square foot art gallery, and a world-class restaurant. New steel and glass canopies mark the entries to the hotel, and the main entrance features a large pivoting glass door for occasional delivery of large scale artwork. A five story atrium and grand public stair at the center of the structure provides natural light for interior-facing guestrooms and connects the main floor public areas with the lower level gallery space, meeting rooms and a fitness center. Many architectural features of the original buildings such as cast iron columns and brick bearing walls have been left visible in the public spaces. The guest rooms and baths are comfortable, luxurious, and celebrate the use of innovative and environmentally-sensitive materials. Art is featured throughout the hotel in dedicated galleries as well as more unconventional locations, such as above guestroom headboards.