Located in the heart of the new Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (Moshe Safdie, 2011) in Bentonville, Arkansas, USA, the museum store is an insertion by a local architect into an existing 3,040 square foot curved concrete space. A local competition was held to find an architect that could contribute to the overall museum experience and provide the museum with a functional and tactile museum store. The space provided was heavily structured with concrete columns supporting a green roof above which severely dissecting the space. The west-facing storefront opened on to the entry plaza, making glare and heat gain an issue. The owner desired a store experience that was warm, natural, and tactile and understood by museum patrons as an extension of the museum experience. Mindful that several local artists would be featured in the museum store, our analysis focused on the work of celebrated basket maker, Leon Niehues (Huntsville, Arkansas), known for his beautifully crafted sculptural baskets made from the young white oak trees of the Ozarks. His process of making uses traditional splint techniques together with new construction methods, simple repetitive elements, and strong formal profiles extruded along specific paths. This process was the source for developing a unified system of articulation that envelopes the retail space.
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