Studio Gang has been announced as the design architect for the $55-65 million expansion of the Arkansas Arts Center (AAC), located in Little Rock, Arkansas, beating out finalists Allied Works, Shigeru Ban Architects, Thomas Phifer and Partners and Snøhetta. Consisting of a renovation to existing theater and studio spaces, new education facilities for families and gallery space to house the museum’s expanding art collection, the project will be Studio Gang’s first art museum commission.
“Designing a re-envisioned Arkansas Arts Center is a truly exciting commission,” said Studio Gang founder Jeanne Gang. “Its extraordinary collection, historic MacArthur Park setting, and rich mix of programs present a unique opportunity to redefine how the arts can strengthen local communities and surrounding regions. We look forward to working closely with the AAC to discover how architecture can enhance the Center’s important civic and cultural mission by creating new connections between people and the arts in Little Rock and beyond.”
In naming the winner, the selection committee cited the firm’s “elegant and smart approach to architecture, their understanding of the issues posed by the AAC’s current facility, their vision for the center as a cultural beacon for Central Arkansas and their commitment to sustainability and strength as urban planners.”
“This project is about more than just addressing the physical issues of the current building. It requires rethinking how the AAC fits into the downtown fabric,” said Todd Herman, executive director for the Arkansas Arts Center. “How can we best serve the community, and how do the AAC and MacArthur Park connect to other social and cultural nodes in downtown Little Rock? We want to do more than build; we want to transform the cultural experience.”
A capital campaign to maximize the impact of the public investment is currently underway. An RFQ to find a local architect to collaborate on the project will be issued later this month.