Ellen T. Leslie Botanical Classrooms
Architect of Record: EOP Architects
Landscape Design: Waterfront Botanical Gardens
Structural Engineer: Brown + Kubican, PSC
Mechanical & Electrical Engineer: Shrout Tate Wilson Consulting Engineers
Civil Engineer: Sabak, Wilson & Lingo, Inc.
General Contractor: Whittenberg Construction Co.
Owner: Waterfront Botanical Gardens
Location: Louisville, KY
Category: New Construction: less than $5M
As the earth edges closer to environmental collapse, the education of our children (and adults) in what makes a harmonious and sustainable world has become even more pressing. To this point, the non-profit client asked the design team to remember its core vision to “plant seeds and grow minds for more sustainable cities,” and its mission to “cultivate urban botanical gardens that educate, inspire, and enhance appreciation of the relationship between plant life and a healthy environment.” This project provided the much-needed physical space for hands-on education, both in a classroom setting and in its embedded teaching greenhouse.
The project is located at a young urban botanical garden. The gardens already included a multi-purpose event space but lacked space devoted purely to education. The building site, located on a former landfill, is a sliver of land located between an existing entry plaza and a major interstate highway. The site provides not only a separation of the gardens from the highway, but from the highway it serves as a “billboard” for the gardens. The form of the structure, although reminiscent of a “barn” shape, did not want to feel too agrarian – thus its slick metal skin and integrated gutters. It is intended to sit softly in the background and serve as a backdrop to the existing curvilinear event space.