More than 200 people braved the wicked winds Thursday night for the reveal of Perkins and Will’s master plan for the Waterfront Botanical Gardens, and it seemed as if no one left disappointed.

Zan Stewart and Matthew Kuhl presented the firm’s plan for the 23-acre site. They emphasized the gardens as a project of revitalization for the city, the community and the environment. Their design, they said, is based on three words: discovery, health and transformation.

As soon as you enter the parking lot to be, you will be entering the gardens. The team plans to showcase the heartiness of plants and their ability to thrive even in tough urban conditions, as well as the potential for more sustainable practices.

Site Plan, courtesy of Botanica and the Waterfront Botanical Gardens
Site plan | Courtesy of Botanica and the Waterfront Botanical Gardens
View of Entrance, courtesy of Botanica and the Waterfront Botanical Gardens
View of entrance | Courtesy of Botanica and the Waterfront Botanical Gardens

The entrance will include a visitor’s center, a LEAD platinum-certified building with a green roof, event spaces and a restaurant capable of seating up to 200 people. Because the site is an old landfill, the team will have to drill down and install piers to ensure the building’s sturdiness, but this also will allow them to access and utilize geothermal energy for natural heating and cooling.

Visitor's Center, courtesy of Botanica and the Waterfront Botanical Gardens
Visitor’s Center | Courtesy of Botanica and the Waterfront Botanical Gardens
Visitor's Center, courtesy of Botanica and the Waterfront Botanical Gardens
Visitor’s Center | Courtesy of Botanica and the Waterfront Botanical Gardens

The other two main buildings, the Conservatory and the Educational Pavilion, also will use these sustainable practices for LEAD platinum certification. However, the Educational Pavilion will be built with a goal even higher than this — it will be a “living building,” creating all of its own energy and water.

The gardens themselves will be diverse and intriguing within a cultivated area, a meadow area and a forested area. The plans include an edible garden, a medicinal garden, a children’s garden (with seedpod-shaped tree houses that become lanterns at night), gallery space, a sustainability garden, an overlook, a trellised walkway, an exploratory woodland, a Japanese garden (a unique and contemporary interpretation, authentic to Kentucky), and finally, a mysterious “secret garden.”

Trellised pathway, courtesy of Botanica and the Waterfront Botanical Gardens
Trellised pathway | Courtesy of Botanica and the Waterfront Botanical Gardens
Children's Garden, courtesy of Botanica and the Waterfront Botanical Gardens
Children’s garden | Courtesy of Botanica and the Waterfront Botanical Gardens
Overlook of Beargrass Creek, courtesy of Botanica and the Waterfront Botanical Gardens
Overlook of Beargrass Creek | Courtesy of Botanica and the Waterfront Botanical Gardens

To learn more about Louisville’s Waterfront Botanical Garden or to donate to their creation, check out Botanica’s website.



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