Guthrie Transportation Museum & Welcome Center

Guthrie / United States / 2014

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The city of Guthrie is a rural community that once played a significant role in the expansion of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad line in the early 1900’s. After a period of economic decline, the city has recently been the focus of efforts to revive its downtown core. As the first development to be completed within a broader vision plan for the city, the project addresses several overlapping community interests: 1) to structurally stabilize & rehabilitate two historic storefront structures that were in an advanced state of decay and partial collapse, 2) to create a facility to welcome visitors and share the story of Guthrie’s role in the early development of the country’s railroad industry, and 3) to provide a multi-use venue as a place for the community to gather.


With a modest budget funded solely through blighted block development grants and federal stimulus funds, the design process was guided by collaborative team that included community leaders, the Kentucky Heritage Council, and various state & federal agencies.


The design approach utilizes a simple strategy of three key elements: 1) a new structural steel frame to stabilize the existing buildings, 2) a ‘boxcar’ zone that consolidates core support functions while maximizing open flexible spaces, and 3) a new concrete service tower that also functions as a structural anchor. A deliberate visual layering between existing & new elements is used to reveal and amplify the defining characteristics of the original structures through contrasts between refined & unfinished elements - in particular the original brick & painted plaster surfaces that hint at their former uses.

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    The city of Guthrie is a rural community that once played a significant role in the expansion of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad line in the early 1900’s. After a period of economic decline, the city has recently been the focus of efforts to revive its downtown core. As the first development to be completed within a broader vision plan for the city, the project addresses several overlapping community interests: 1) to structurally stabilize & rehabilitate two historic...

    Project details
    • Year 2014
    • Work started in 2012
    • Work finished in 2014
    • Main structure Steel
    • Client City of Guthrie
    • Cost $1,200,000
    • Status Completed works
    • Type Restoration of old town centres / Multi-purpose Cultural Centres / Museums / Urban Renewal / Recovery/Restoration of Historic Buildings
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