OMA’s Museum Plaza (pictured left), in Louisville Kentucky, will alter the Louisville skyline in dramatic fashion. It has been described as “hyper-rational” by the Koolhaas-groomed, Josh Prince-Ramus, and is essentially composed of four legs supporting an “island” hovering 22 stories above the ground, upon which sits an additional three towers – bringing the entire $305 million structure to a height of 61 stories.
When I saw the rendering this morning, I thought it looked a little familiar, and after some perusing through the AMO/OMA book-mag, Content, I found my answer. Koolhaas is fond of recycling his ideas; we saw him do it with the Casa de Musica in Porto, and we see it again here.
The proposed Bangkok “Hyperbuilding” (pictured right; dubbed by OMA as their “brief, titillating brush with sci-fi”) appears to be both an ideological and formal predecessor to the Museum Plaza. Both buildings propose a radical rethinking of the skyscraper – a concept Koolhaas (correctly) believes hasn’t been truly considered since the 1970’s. With a series of thin towers, joined structurally above ground level, these skyscrapers –more robot hand than phallus– avoid the dreaded dark cores of tower buildings while creating spatial “knots” for program massing. The structures also both accommodate a diverse program – an affinity of Koolhaas’s dating back to his study of the New York Athletic Club in Delirious New York. Although drastically smaller in scale than the Hyperbuilding, the Museum Plaza is no less programmatically ambitious, housing the contemporary art museum for which it’s named, restaurants, retail stores, 85 luxury condominiums, 150 lofts, a 300 room hotel, office space and a 1,100 car underground parking garage.
Museum Plaza Investors are also asking the city for an additional $75 million dollars to improve the surrounding infrastructure – including nothing less than the relocation of a city street and new pedestrian walkways to unite the building with nearby museums. Transit in the building itself is provided by glass elevators traveling along diagonals, transporting people from the street to the island plaza. Again we see similar ideas in the Hyperbuilding, whose proposal included a aerial pomenade and intra-building mass transit infrastructure that also connected the building to the city system.
Construction on Museum Plaza is expected to start in early 2007 and be completed in 2010.