The Belle of Louisville, the oldest operating steamboat in the United States, will be celebrating a century of service in October, 2014. To celebrate this milestone, the Centennial Festival of Riverboats will take place from October 14-19, 2014 at Louisville’s Waterfront Park in downtown Louisville, attracting an estimated 300,000 visitors from around the world.

The nearby Falls of the Ohio, as the only non-navigable stretch of the river between modern-day Pittsburgh and the Gulf of Mexico, prompted this region’s earliest European settlement in late eighteenth century. Today’s regional cityscape including Louisville, New Albany, Jeffersonville and Clarksville grew out of this natural phenomenon. The celebration of the Belle’s 100th is thus an opportunity to celebrate the legacy of river travel and the enormous cultural influence it has exerted in this region, an area that the local news programs refer to as “Kentuckiana.”

Riverboats attending the Centennial include the Belle of Louisville, The Spirit of Jefferson (Louisville, KY), Anson Northrup (Minneapolis, MN), River Queen (Cincinnati, OH), Colonel (Galveston, TX), Belle of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, OH), General Jackson (Nashville, TN) and the Spirit of Peoria (Peoria, IL).  In addition, the American Queen (Memphis, TN) will be docked in Jeffersonville, IN Friday and Saturday evening (Oct. 17 and 18).  The boats will host cruises, concerts, dinners and tastings throughout the week to complement the festival on the Waterfront.                   

General information regarding the event can be found at:

festival of riverboats site and promotional video

The Festival Committee invites architects, designers & artists to participate in the Centennial Festival of Riverboats through the design of a small-scale, temporary and multipurpose pavilion to be used in series throughout the Waterfront.  The pavilions will accommodate a variety of activities during the event.  Actual uses may include music performance space, seating, bourbon tasting space or areas for vending and exhibitions.  Because of its repetition along the event grounds, the winning pavilion will play a major role as a visual and programmatic cue for the festival.  

No local registration is required although a technical understanding of the proposed design is necessary for fabrication of the awarded proposal.  Design teams are strongly encouraged to include members holding expertise in architecture or structures.  Designs must not present risk to the general safety and welfare of the event attendees and must consider structural requirements and the possible need to withstand high winds and driving rains without the use of fixed, below-grade foundations. Entrants will note that pavilion locations will be comprised largely of paved surfaces with no capacity for stakes, penetrations or other sub-surface work.

Entrants should clearly represent the form, material and fabrication strategy of the proposed structure while communicating the design’s relation to the site and event.  The scale of the pavilions should be seen as that of a small gallery or stage area (roughly 750 square feet each).  The final scale and form of the project is the decision of the individual designer or design team.  Entrants are required to consider material availability and complexity of assembly on a budget of $8,000 per pavilion.  Entrants will have no control over the placement and orientation of their designs. 

Entries will include plan drawings to scale, technical sections and any three-dimensional views needed to communicate the conceptual and technical nature of each project. 

All project information & representation is to be presented on one size E1 (30”x 42”) pdf in landscape format.  Submissions will be sent via email to

Entrants meeting submission criteria will be part of a public exhibition at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft in Louisville’s Museum District of West Main Street.  The exhibition will culminate in a jury and reception to announce the prize winning projects. 

The Pavilions Design Competiton competition would not be possible without the generous support of sonaBLAST! records.

Announcement: August 30, 2013
Registration Deadline: February 28, 2014
Submission Deadline: March 28, 2014
Public Exhibition of entries KMAC:  2014 May 15th – June 15th  
Jury/Announcement of Prizes:  June 14th, 2014
Winning entrants will be notified via email.
Centennial Festival of Riverboats:  October 15-19, 2014

The competition is open to all individuals or design teams who would like to contribute ideas to this event.     

A $50.00 registration fee per submission is required for entry and will apply toward exhibition costs.  Multiple submissions are permitted and must be registered individually.  The registration payment(s) can be made by credit card through PayPal at

Rick Bell, Louisville Waterfront Historian
Karen Gillenwater, Curator, Carnegie Center for Art and History New Albany, IN
Augusta Brown Holland, Community Developer
Nat Irvin II, Strickler Chair, University of Louisville College of Business
Representative Joni Jenkins, Kentucky House District 44
Sarah Lyon, Photographer
Kulapat Yantrasast, Founder & Principal, wHY Architecture


First Prize:                    
$2000 + fabrication/installation of the project)

Second Prize:              

Honorable Mention:   
$500 (awarded at the discretion of the jury)

Individual questions will be responded to via email at


Belle Landmark Study

Waterfront Park                       


Belle of Louisville (Louisville, KY)        

The Spirit of Jefferson (Louisville, KY)  

Anson Northrup (Minneapolis, MN)

River Queen (Cincinnati, OH) 

Colonel (Galveston, TX) 

Belle of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, OH)              

General Jackson (Nashville, TN)        

Spirit of Peoria (Peoria, IL)

American Queen (Memphis, TN)  


With special thanks to:

Kentucky Museum of Art & Craft