Gresham Smith was selected to transform an abandoned downtown site and its unused buildings in La Grange, Ky., into a distinctive gateway element to the city. George R. Rawlings, founder of the Rawlings Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to revitalizing Oldham County, envisioned the new facility to be a multi-use resource for the community and a distinct presence in the town center.
The firm provided conceptual design, architecture, engineering and landscape architecture for a new 3,500-square-foot state-of-the-art chamber of commerce and visitor center, and a 9,000-square-foot event space that would both utilize the infrastructure of the site’s two existing buildings. In addition, a new 9,200-square-foot event space was developed on an adjacent property, and a vacant paved lot was adapted into a park-like plaza for public use.
By using the former feed-storage building as a foundation for Pavilion 1, the design team exploited the original building’s striking wood-frame interior and eliminated the need for a brand new structure. Exposed trusses, sliding barn doors and outdoor terraces in Pavilion 2 keep it aesthetically consistent with its existing building counterparts. Designers also used green space and landscaping to tie the facilities together and added new skins to all of the buildings to give a cohesive appearance. To create a bright, inviting space for the new home of the Oldham County Chamber & Economic Development offices, the team extended the roof height into a two-story space.
Redefining the entry into the city of La Grange, Gresham Smith's design introduces everyday citizens, periodic workers and tourists to the city, and offers a functional, modern and unique nexus point for events and activities that is successfully bringing the community together.