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[Louisville] Humana Building an 'Icon of architecture'

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Icon of architecture

With photo gallery!

Key --

1. The Humana building is nearing 25 years of age.

2. It was constructed at Fifth and Main Streets and 'bucked the trend' of glass and steel boxes.

3. It's unique design has been hailed as the beginning of a downtown transformation, leading to projects like Museum Plaza.

3a. It has been widely believed to have inspired the Capital Holding Center, now the Aegon Tower.

4. The architect, Michael Graves, is returning to Louisville to give a free lecture on May 23 at the Actors Theatre where he introduced the project in 1982. The event is sponsored by Humana, Mayor Jerry Abramson's office, and the American Institute of Architects' local chapter.

5. The Humana building was selected as one of the 150 favorite buildings in the U.S. by the American Institute of Architects'.

5a. It is regarded as one of the 'finest examples' of postmodern architecture -- 'an often-exaggerated style that incorporates decorative elements and differs from the modernist style that stressed stark features'.

5b. The 27 story building is skinned in pink granite, with marble on the interior rotunda and fountains 'cascading' in a public corridor along Main.

5c. The building's waterfalls are mimicked after the Falls of the Ohio, and the trusses that support a hanging terrace reflect the Ohio Rivre spans. The Main Street facade 'mirrors nearby cast-iron buildings'.

6. When it first opened, critics complained that the building, with its pink facade, was out of place and complained that it had too many 'unnecessary decorations'.

6a. Many were not impressed but have changed their mind -- the article adding that Louisville has accepted avant-garde architectural styles.

Article information: "Icon of architecture, By Marcus Green, The Courier-Journal, Thursday, April 5, 2007"

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