Speed Museum Chooses wHY Architecture

Click here for Elizabeth Kramer’s interview with The Speed Art Museum’s Charles Venable and wHY Architecture’s principal architect, Kulapat Yantrasast.

The Speed Art Museum has chosen an architectural firm to design the expansion of its building on the University of Louisville campus. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer reports.

A Los Angeles-based firm — wHY Architecture — will design the expansion of the Speed Art Museum. The decision is the latest in a multi-year process that has involved staff and board members interviewing many architects and visiting museums around the world.

Museum director Charles Venable says wHY Architecture came with an impressive resume.

“They have enormous amount of experience working on specialized museum buildings,” Venable says. “And, practically speaking, museums are complicated places.”

Venable says that after reviewing many architectural firms, representatives from the Speed found that wHY Architecture understood the problems the museum has in its current building and that it proposed possible and appealing solutions for the interior and exterior spaces that could attract people to and through the gallery space.

Venable says the expansion will be an expensive as well as notable project.

“Clearly, this will be one of the most important architectural expansions in the history of Louisville,” he says “So, we’re talking about something in the tens of millions of dollars.”

The firm designed The Grand Rapids Art Museum, the world’s first certified “green” museum, and has redesigned gallery space at the Art Institute of Chicago. Venable says a design should be unveiled later this year and construction should start next year. The new space should open in late 2012.