The Green Building

DATE: 2008
LOCATION: Louisville, Kentucky, USA
OLD USE: Dry goods store
NEW USE: Retail, gallery, offices


This former dry goods store, Sternau’s Dry Goods, was built in 1891 in Louisville, Kentucky. The dry goods store shut down in 1949, but was then occupied by a Goodwill Thrift Store from 1956 to 1977. It was then used as a photography warehouse from 1977 until 2006.[1]


Augusta and Gill Holland purchased the building in spring 2007. Gill is a Norwegian-American Spirit Award-nominated film producer and the author of the children’s book “Louisville Counts.”[2] The Hollands hired (fer) studio, based on Los Angeles, to oversee the adaptive reuse process. The firm handles architectural, interior, landscape, and master planning design. It is well known for its eco-conscious design.[3]


This adaptive reuse project became the first commercial building in Louisville to go for US Green Building Council LEED platinum certification. The end product, a 15,000-square-foot mixed-use facility, is now home to a café, a gallery, event spaces, an indoor-outdoor courtyard, and offices and studios for local businesses. “Intent upon rescuing the building from decades of misuse, the project included resuscitating the structural masonry shell and infusing it with a modern core, including a 40 foot high lobby, expansive natural lighting, eco-friendly materials, and renewable energy systems, as well as extensive solar power, geothermal wells, and recycled denim insulation.”[4]

Located in the East Market District (NuLu), The Green Building has become the flagship building for this area. This growing, hip district is made up of Louisville’s oldest neighborhoods, Butchertown and Phoenix Hill. This unofficial district is now best known for its galleries showcasing local, regional and national artists, unique specialty stores, antique shops and a growing number of upscale restaurants.[5]

[3](fer) studio
[4]The Green Building

Images courtesy of (fer) studio.