Yale Students Present Downtown Distillery Designs for Louisville

The students from the Yale School of Architecture who visited Louisville in February have unveiled their designs for an urban distillery downtown.

The students studied the region on their visit, with a specific focus on Louisville's downtown and the bourbon industry. Their task was to each design a distillery that could stand near First and Main streets, across from the Whiskey Row buildings.

Bringing the traditionally rural practice of distilling bourbon to an urban environment was only one challenge the students faced. During their visit, professor and architect Deborah Berke told WFPL “I think they’ll be torn from wanting to make something that’s very modern that reflects distilling technology and the 20th century environment they want to be a part of and responding to the historic context.”

The designs also had to follow building codes and laws and balance the infrastructure realities of the city with designs that could bring large trucks, pollution and other side effects of manufacturing downtown.But the group of designs presented show some creative solutions to these issues.

Francesco Galetto designed a building that puts each step of the distilling and bottling process on a different floor. The structure starts with consumption at a top-floor bar, then moves chronologically downward, from grain storage to distilling to aging to bottling.  Galetto's design also does the most to alter Louisville's skyline. 

Diana Nee's design would also stand apart from other downtown buildings.

Lauren Page took a different approach. Her design doesn't include distilling, just bottling. But Page tells WFPL she focused on filling gaps downtown. The students heard about Louisville's problems with food deserts, so Page designed a marketplace for local goods ranging from honey to bourbon. Her design also attempts to connect the area to the waterfront.  

These design aren't meant to be built in Louisville, but distilling is coming downtown. So far, both Heaven Hill and Michter's both have distilleries and attractions planned for Main Street.

You can see all of the Yale Students' designs on our Flickr page.

Gabe Bullard

Gabe Bullard is the director of news and editorial strategy.

@gbullard

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