AD Classics: Thorncrown Chapel / E. Fay Jones

© Randall Connaughton

Hidden in the middle of the forests surrounding Arkansas’ Ozark Mountains, Thorncrown Chapel rests amongst the oaks, pines and maples. The humble chapel, designed by Euine Fay Jones, is less than 35 years old – yet it’s on the U.S. Historic register, has been named one of the AIA’s top ten buildings of the 20th century, and has even been called the best American building since 1980.

Frank Lloyd Wright House Saved

© Tarantino Studio 2013; courtesy Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas

A rare house from Frank Lloyd Wright‘s Usonian house period has been saved by the Crystal Bridges Museum in Arkansas. The dramatic rescue plan to disassemble and move the house to a site over 1,000 miles away is required due to frequent flooding of the home’s existing site in Millstone, New Jersey. The Crystal Bridges Museum will rebuild and restore the house at a site on their 120-acre grounds.

Read on for more about this unusual

Carroll County Airport Terminal / Modus Studio

© Rett Peek

Architects: Modus Studio
Location: Berryville, ,
Architectural Team: Chris M. Baribeau, AIA (principal architect), Josh Siebert, Assoc. AIA, Chris M. Lankford, Austin L. Chatelain, Assoc. AIA
Completed: February, 2011
Effective Area: 2,450 sf
Cost: $291,748 | $119 per SF
Site Infrastructure: $43,000
Photographs: Rett Peek 


Green Forest Athletic Complex / Modus Studio

© Timothy Hursley

Architects: Modus Studio
Location: , Arkansas,
Owner: Green Forest Public Schools, John Calaway, Superintendent
Architectural Team: Josh Siebert, Assoc. AIA (principal in charge), Chris M. Baribeau, AIA (principal architect), Chris M. Lankford
Completion: September, 2011
Site Area: 200,000 SF
Construction Costs: $1,600,000 total
Photographs: Timothy Hursley


Eco Modern Flats / Modus Studio

© Timothy Hursley

Architects: Modus Studio
Location: Fayetteville, ,
Completion: 2011
Thermal Area: 62,400 SF
Building: $3,810,900 | $61 per SF
Architectural Team: Chris M. Baribeau, AIA [principal architect], Austin Chatelain, Assoc. AIA [project manager], Josh Siebert, Assoc. AIA, Jason Wright, Assoc. AIA, Chris M. Lankford, David McElyea, Assoc. AIA.
Structural Engineer: MyersBeatty Engineers
Photographs: Timothy Hursley, Adaptive Creative 


Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery at Birdeye / Fennell Purifoy Architects

© Ken West

Architects: Fennell Purifoy Architects
Location: Birdeye, , USA
Area: 4,606 sqm
Completion: December 2011
Client: Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs
Landscape Architect: Ecological Design Group – Little Rock, AR
Contractor: Olympus Construction – Jonesboro, AR
Photographs: Ken West


St Nicholas Church / Marlon Blackwell Architect

Courtesy of

Architect: Marlon Blackwell Architect
Project Location: Springdale, Arkansas,
Owner/Client: Saint Nicholas Eastern Orthodox Church
Project Team: Marlon Blackwell, FAIA [principal] Jon Boelkins Bradford Payne Gail Shepherd Meryati Johari Blackwell Stephen Reyenga
Photographs: Timothy Hursley, Don Lourie, Marlon Blackwell Architect

Flashback: Towerhouse / Marlon Blackwell Architect

Courtesy of

Architect: Marlon Blackwell Architect
Project Location: 2570 Old Missouri Road, Arkansas, USA
Project Year: 2000
Photographs: Timothy Hursley, Richard


Green Forest Middle School / Modus Studio

© Rett Peek

Architect: Modus Studio
Location: Green Forest, , United States
Project Area: 2010
Owner: Green Forest Public Schools, Jeff Williams, Superintendent, John Calaway, Superintendent
Project Team: Josh Siebert, Assoc. AIA; Chris M. Baribeau, AIA; Chris M. Lankford; Austin L. Chatelain, Assoc. AIA; Julie K. Chambers, AIA; Leanne R. Baribeau, AIA
Photographs: Rett Peek


Video: Arkansas Mid Century Modern Architecture Short

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This snapshot of a new documentary about mid-century in Arkansas illuminates classic post-war designs. Simple, clean lines were often the elements that delineated the aesthetics of these buildings. While many lay in disrepair, they still exude an aura of a time when optimism was reflected in the country’s desire to build a new future. Some of the architectural icons that are featured include the University of Arkansas’s Fine Arts Center by state native Edward Durell Stone, the Tower Building in Little Rock, the Fulbright Library in Fayetteville, and the abandoned Hotel Mountainaire. Check out the short clip of what will air in November on AETN. Also, see the highlights of the current affairs and award winning architecture that is taking place within the state of Arkansas here.

polypod / Bradley Edwards

© Bradley Edwards

Architect: Bradley Edwards, Architect AIA
Location: Fayetteville, ,
Design/Build Team: David McElyea and Bradley Edwards
Owner: Dr. Mark Thomas
Contractor: David McElyea
Project Area: 160 sqf
Project Year: 2010
Photographs: Bradley Edwards

Allen Residence / Skiles Architect

© Albert Skiles

Architect: Skiles Architect
Location: , , USA
Project Team: Albert B. Skiles and Lisa Knemeyer Skiles, AIA
Contractor: Steve Powell, Hickory Creek Builders, Inc.
Consultants: Gary Kahanak, Home Energy Consultants (Energy Star 5+ certification)
Clients: Myria and A.J. Allen
Project Area: 1,358 sqf conditioned space (two bedroom and bath)
2,596 sqf under roof (residence / two car carport / workshop / screen porch and front entry porch)
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: Albert Skiles, Principal Architect

AIA Arkansas 2011 Convention

Ruth Lilly Visitors Pavilion, Honor Award - photo © Timothy Hursley

Last week I had the honor to be an invited speaker to the 2011 AIA Arkansas Convention in Hot Springs, AR.

The event featured a great group of speakers such as Hicks Stones (Stone Architecture), Rand Elliott (FAIA, Elliott + Associates Architects), Maitland Jones (Deborah Berke & Partners Architects), Steve Dumez (FAIA, Eskew + Dumez + Ripple), David Miller (FAIA, Miller/Hull Partnership), Matthew Kreilich (Julie Snow Architects, Inc.), Kevin Alter (Alter Studio) and Tim Hursley (Architecture photographer).

During the convention I had the opportunity to meet a wide group of local architects, such as renowned architect Marlon Blackwell, Chris Baribeau from Modus Studio (recipient of the 2011 Emerging Professional Award), among other local architects. I had also the opportunity to visit the Anthony Chapelby Maurice Jennings + David McKee Architects (Maurice Jennings was partner of for 25 years), an incredible piece of architecture.

Awards during the convention include local architect Charles Witsell, Jr (FAIA, founding partner and senior, Witsell, Evans & Rasco, Architects/Planners), recipient of the Fay Jones Gold Medal Award, and the Arkansas Chapter of the USGBC, recipient of the Award of Merit.

The 2011 Design Awards, announced last Friday, are a good snapshot of the current state of architecture in the southern state.

After the break, the list of the awarded projects. Some of them are already featured in AD, the rest will be here soon!

L-Stack House / Marlon Blackwell Architect

© Timothy Hursley

The L-Stack House responds to a site anomaly set within a dense inner-city neighborhood near a city park. The 10,000 sqf trapezoid-shaped lot is traversed diagonally by a dry-bed creek. The urban grid and the modest scale of existing houses in the neighborhood is enhanced through a strategy of bridging and stacking of forms.

In effect a new order is superimposed upon a in-fill tract of land that has been undeveloped since the 19th century origins of the city of . The resulting scheme is an ‘L’ configuration that subdivides the interior program and the site into private and public entities. A carefully positioned glass-enclosed stairway hinges together the two 18 -foot wide boxes that form the house structure.

Architects: Marlon Blackwell Architect
Location: Fayetteville, , USA
Project Manager: Meryati Blackwell, Assoc. AIA
Project Team: Marlon Blackwell, AIA, Chris Baribeau, AIA, Matt Griffith, Assoc. AIA, Scott Scales, Assoc. AIA, Michael Pope
Landscape Designer: Stuart Fulbright
Structural Engineering: Joe Looney, P.E.
Lighting Design: John Rogers
General Contractor: Marlon Blackwell Architect and Benchmark Framing, Inc.
Project Year: 2006
Photographs: Timothy Hursley

Gentry Public Library / Marlon Blackwell Architect

© Timothy Hursley

Marlon Blackwell Architect were asked to design a new modern public library within the 100 year-old brick shell of a former hardware store, located on Main Street in the small town of , .

The program includes space for a public library, a community room, and a city history and genealogy collection. There is an open lot adjacent to the library which had remained undeveloped since the city was established in the late 19th century. Here an urban pocket park is placed allowing access from Main Street and the community room. To the south of the building, a new urban plaza of grass and concrete pavers acts as a community space for events such as book fairs. An antique fire truck exhibit building along the south end of the plaza is scheduled for construction at a later date.

Architects: Marlon Blackwell Architect
Location: Gentry, Arkansas, USA
Project Team: Marlon Blackwell AIA (principal), Ati Blackwell Associate AIA (project manager), Julie Chambers, AIA Tony Patterson Scott Scales David Tanner, Associate AIA Gail Shepherd, AIA
Structural: Joseph Looney & Associates
MEP: GA Engineers, Inc.
Civil: Civil Engineering, Inc.
Landscape Designer: Stuart Fulbright
General Contractor: SSi, Inc
Owner/Client: City of Gentry
Project Area: 11,037 sqf existing, 933 sqf new
Project Year: 2007
Photographs: Timothy Hursley

Fulbright Building Addition / Marlon Blackwell Architect

© Timothy Hursley

Respecting the quality of the original design of the building, as well as concerns from the community, the structure has remained relatively untouched. The generating idea or theme for the design of the renovation and additions to the Fulbright Building Fayetteville is a ‘ship in a bottle’, defining the juxtaposition and materiality of the new interior spaces in relation to the existing steel structural grid and a new custom glass infill storefront system that wraps the upper floor of the building.

Follow the break for a full project description and more photographs.

Architects: Marlon Blackwell Architect
Location: Fayetteville, Arkansas,
Photographs: Timothy Hursley

Srygley Office Building / Marlon Blackwell Architect

© Tim Hursley

Situated on a 3/4-acre lot in a small office park and housing a small privately owned financial lending company, the structure is sited in opposition to the prevailing orientation of other offices with their front façade to the street. This is a building made of tough materials on its exterior, but gives way to a more refined and enriched interior. Stretching north to south the building’s concrete block base is inflected at the center of its east elevation to provide a ‘slipped entry’, an extended void, for people to slide between an angled sandblasted concrete block wall and a metal clad shell – an industrial exoskeleton – that acts as both wall and roof.

Architects: Marlon Blackwell Architect
Location: Johnson, ,
Project Team: Marlon Blackwell, Gail Shepherd (project architect), Meryati Johari, Julie Chambers, Chris Baribeau, Matthew Griffith
Interiors: Marlon Blackwell Architect, Tom Chandler and Associates
Structural Engineer: Butch Green
Mechanical Engineer: Tim Geary and Associates
Contractors: EWI Constructors, Inc.
Owner: Bob Srygley
Project Area: 4,125 sqf
Photographs: Tim Hursley

Arkansas House / Marlon Blackwell Architect

© Tim Hursley

The challenge for the House was to reassemble a fire-damaged home and introduce possibilities for re-thinking the house’s spatial character by adding new elements. The design had to be completed in three weeks and the details were resolved after construction began – one fragment at a time. The architects were allowed to work only in the fire-damaged zones of the existing house (exterior and interior), leaving the remainder untouched beyond new windows and a new HVAC system.

Architects: Marlon Blackwell Architect
Location: Northwest Arkansas
Project Team: Marlon Blackwell, Yume Rudzinski, Tony Patterson, Chris Baribeau, Matthew Griffith, Meryati Blackwell
Structural Engineer: Jim Gore
Mechanical Engineers: Tim Geary and Associates
Contractor: JW Enterprises
Interiors: Meredith Boswell, Ante Prima, Oscar Glottman
Photographs: Tim Hursley