Grafton Architects was selected as the winning firm to design the Anthony Timberlands Center for Design and Materials Innovation at the University of Arkansas. In collaboration with Modus Studio for the planned campus design research center, the design on the project is scheduled to begin this summer.
Part of the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design, the new applied research center will be located on the northeast corner of the university’s Windgate Art and Design District, along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in south Fayetteville. Envisioned by Grafton Architects, co-founded by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, the 2020 recipients of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, the project will “serve as the epicenter for the Fay Jones School’s multiple timber and wood design initiatives, house the school’s existing and expanding design-build program and fabrication technologies laboratories, and serve as the new home to the school’s emerging graduate program in timber and wood design”.
We are very excited about building our first building in the United States in Fayetteville, Arkansas. This building helps us think about the future optimistically, where the use of timber with all its possibilities, becomes real, useful and hopefully loved. -- Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara.
Conceived as a Story Book of Timber, the new Anthony Timberlands Center showcases the “versatility of timber, both as the structural bones and the enclosing skin of this new building”. In fact, Farrell expresses that “the building itself is a teaching tool, displaying the strength, color, grain, texture and beauty of the various timbers used.” Responding to the local climate and local needs, the building opens up to the general public and offers its students a state-of-the-art educational facility. The jurors described the winning project as a set of “valid pragmatic ideas with a poetic solution. Simultaneously complex and simple, it expresses a high aspiration. It creates a memorable institutional landmark for the urban landscape of Fayetteville.”
The selection of the design team comes after a months-long process. Grafton Architects was chosen after a first selection that narrowed down the count to 6 shortlisted teams. The other finalist firms were WT/GO Architecture of New Haven, Connecticut; Dorte Mandrup A/S of Copenhagen, Denmark; Shigeru Ban Architects of Tokyo/New York/Paris; Kennedy & Violich Architecture of Boston, Massachusetts; and LEVER Architecture of Portland, Oregon.
The University of Arkansas has been a leader in showcasing all the benefits of mass timber architecture. We are looking forward to the results of a leading architectural university working with this year’s Pritzker Prize winners to take wood-based architecture to new heights. -- Carlton Owen, CEO of the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities.