Arts and Culture Local News

The Speed Art Museum has chosen a landscape architect for its expansion at the University of Louisville campus. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer has more.

Taft Museum of ArtReed Hilderbrand Associates of Massachusetts designed the Phoenix Art Museum (bottom photo) and Clark Art Institute in the Massachusetts Berkshires. It also designed the grounds of Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum and Cincinnati’s Taft Museum of Art (top photo).

Museum director Charles Venable says the firm indicated it wants to create space with references to the original landscape plans by the Olmsted Brothers, the firm founded by the sons of Frederick Law Olmsted. (Frederick Law Olmsted designed New York’s Central Park and many parks in Louisville.)

“They’ve been very eloquent about the fact that the firm designed the University of Louisville’s Belknap campus when it was laid out in 1920,” Venable says. “And some of the major stands of trees that survive on that campus where actually plantings that were suggested by the Olmsted Brothers.”

Phoenix Art MuseumVenable says museum officials were struck by other ideas.

“One of the things that really impressed us looking at their work is how flexible they seem to be,” he says, “and how willing they were to pair themselves up with a horticulturalist who knows a lot about what would thrive well in a certain location.”

Venable says officials expect their work to transform the acre and a half around the museum — which is largely covered with asphalt.

“We have charged our architect and now our new landscape architects with bringing together the idea of art and nature and a visit to a museum, he says, “and to take basically a pretty flat site — bounded by Third Street and the university — and really create exciting moments.”

Reed Hilderbrand Associates of Massachusetts will work with wHY Architecture of Los Angeles, which the museum chose in January.

The museum expects to break ground next year and complete construction by 2014. The museum has yet to release its goal for its capital campaign. It recently announced it is receiving $5 million from The J. Graham Brown Foundation towards the campaign