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Arkansas: The Latest Architecture and News

Safdie Architects to Design Major Crystal Bridges Expansion

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art has announced plans for a major expansion by Safdie Architects in Arkansas. The new addition will increase the size of the current facilities by 50 percent, adding nearly 100,000 square feet to the 200,000-square-foot facility. The expansion will showcase the museum's growing collection and provide space for educational and outreach initiatives, cultural programming, and community events.

Courtesy of Safdie ArchitectsCourtesy of Safdie ArchitectsCourtesy of Safdie ArchitectsCourtesy of Safdie Architects+ 7

Drury University Design Team Creates Crystalline Veteran Memorial for Arkansas

A team of Drury University faculty have created a crystalline design for the Springdale Veteran Memorial Competition. Sited in Arkansas, the proposal was made by Sara Khorshidifard, Payman Sadeghi and Karen Spence. Using the crystal metaphor and drawing inspiration from its shape, formation, and built tactility, the concept is made to capitalize on the Diamond State’s history and topology.

Courtesy of Drury UniversityCourtesy of Drury UniversityCourtesy of Drury UniversityCourtesy of Drury University+ 15

Studio Gang's Arkansas Arts Center Under Construction

Studio Gang and SCAPE are working in collaboration with Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects on the Arkansas Arts Center currently under construction in MacArthur Park, Little Rock. The work is being realized through a public-private partnership, with a $31 million commitment from the City of Little Rock, funded through a hotel-tax revenue bond. The project will house the Arkansas Arts Center Foundation Collection, which includes 14,000 works of art from around the world.

Arkansas Art Center. Image Courtesy of Studio Gang and SCAPEArkansas Art Center. Image Courtesy of Studio GangArkansas Art Center. Image Courtesy of Studio GangArkansas Art Center. Image Courtesy of Studio Gang and SCAPE+ 5

Grafton Architects Wins Competition to Design the Anthony Timberlands Center at the University of Arkansas

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.

Studio Gang Breaks Ground on New Arkansas Arts Center

Studio Gang and SCAPE have broken ground on the new Arkansas Arts Center (AAC) in Little Rock. The current facility will be transformed, and the project includes a landscape design that will connect the AAC with the surrounding MacArthur Park. The project was made to embrace the Arkansas Arts Center’s history and create a contemporary space for the future.

Studio Gang Reveals Design of Arkansas Arts Center Expansion

Studio Gang has revealed the design of their $70 Million expansion of the Arkansas Arts Center, located in historic MacArthur Park in the state capital of Little Rock. Working with associate architects Polk Stanley Wilcox and landscape architecture firm SCAPE, Studio Gang has envisioned a sweeping roof structure that will connect the existing architecturally disparate museum pavilions into a cohesive whole.

Architectural Model. Image Courtesy of Studio GangNorth Entry Courtyard Revealing the Original 1937 Facade. Image Courtesy of Studio GangLooking South in the New Center. Image Courtesy of Studio GangNew South Entry from MacArthur Park. Image Courtesy of Studio Gang+ 6

University of Arkansas to Construct America’s First Large-Scale, Mass Timber Higher Ed Residence Hall and Living Learning Project

University of Arkansas students are abuzz about the latest addition their university: Stadium Drive Residence Halls. Currently, under construction, the new 202,027 square foot residence halls are the nation’s first large-scale, mass timber higher ed residence hall project and living learning setting. The design collaborative behind the project is led by Boston-based Leers Weinzapfel Associates, Modus Studio in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Mackey Mitchell Architects in St. Louis, and Philadelphia landscape and urban design firm, OLIN.

Courtesy of Leers Weinzapfel Associates, Modus Studio, Mackey Mitchell ArchitectsCourtesy of Leers Weinzapfel Associates, Modus Studio, Mackey Mitchell ArchitectsCourtesy of Leers Weinzapfel Associates, Modus Studio, Mackey Mitchell ArchitectsCourtesy of Leers Weinzapfel Associates, Modus Studio, Mackey Mitchell Architects+ 9

50-Foot-Tall Buckminster Fuller “Fly’s Eye” Dome to Be Erected in Arkansas

One of Buckminster Fuller’s visionary housing structures is set to be erected at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. The 50-foot structure, known as the “Fly’s Eye Dome” is the largest of only three original prototypes hand-fabricated by Fuller during his lifetime.

Studio Gang Selected to Design Arkansas Arts Center Expansion

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.

TheatreSquared Reveals Designs for Permanent Facility

On November 3, TheatreSquared Executive Director Martin Miller and Artistic Director Robert Ford unveiled the completed plans for the company’s new permanent home, a 50,000 square-foot building in Fayetteville, Arkansas designed by London-based theater planners Charcoalblue and New York–based Marvel Architects. The new building will include two theaters, a rehearsal space, staff offices, design workshops, a community space, a 24-hour cafe/bar, three levels of outdoor public space, and a separate building housing eight guest artist apartments.

© TheatreSquared© TheatreSquared© TheatreSquared© TheatreSquared+ 6

Studio Gang, Shigeru Ban Among 5 Shortlisted for Arkansas Arts Center Expansion

The Arkansas Arts Center has selected five top architecture firms to compete for the design of a $55 million to $65 million museum expansion project in Little Rock, Arkansas. The project will include a renovation to existing theater and studio spaces, as well as new education facilities for families and gallery space to house the museum’s expanding art collection.

An advisory panel and selection committee named the finalists following a RFQ process featuring 23 local and international firms.

The 5 firms selected as finalists are:

Marlon Blackwell On Working in Arkansas and Why We Should "Recreate Strangeness" in Architecture

In this video entitled Building Between, Marlon Blackwell advocates for a kind of regionalism which isn’t as divisive as “regionalism.” As a 24-year resident of Arkansas, he recalls his work and process in a place which he states is both “an environment of natural beauty and a place of real constructed ugliness”—showing the nuanced and self-critical awareness of place beyond the utopian glorification of genius loci which earlier this year earned him the 2016 Cooper Hewitt National Design Award in Architecture.

Srygley Office Building. Image © Timothy HursleyVol Walker Hall & the Steven L Anderson Design Center. Image © Timothy HursleyFayetteville Montessori Elementary School. Image © Timothy HursleySt Nicholas Church. Image Courtesy of Marlon Blackwell Architects+ 4

Marlon Blackwell on the Importance of Small Projects

In this video by the AIA, Marlon Blackwell, one of Arkansas’ foremost architects, speaks on the importance of small projects in an architect's career. “I only really worked on small projects at the beginning…that was doing everything…The scale of the site, the scale of the model, the scale of the hand…the beauty of the small project is that you can work at all of those many scales," says Blackwell. “The smaller projects are the beginning of the development of a language in architecture. I see it not as a benign or banal thing but as the beginning of taking yourself from where you are to where you want to be.”

At Crystal Bridges Museum, Frank Lloyd Wright's Bachman-Wilson House Reframes Architecture as Art

Architecture and art have had a long and complicated relationship. Many people consider architecture to be “the mother art,” while others believe the burdens of program and pragmatism prohibit architecture from the realm of pure artistry. But what happens when architecture is displayed alongside art? Next Wednesday, November 11th, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas is primed to open Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian-era Bachman-Wilson house to the public. It is the first Wright home to be relocated to an art museum property, accompanying the museum's Moshe Safdie-designed building within a short walk of artworks by Norman Rockwell, Donald Judd and Andy Warhol. These unique juxtapositions open up new conversations about the goals of preserving buildings as well as chances to contemplate architecture’s place within art history.

Master Bedroom. Image Courtesy of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas; Photos by Nancy Nolan PhotographyLiving Space to Foyer. Image Courtesy of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas; Photos by Nancy Nolan PhotographyLiving Space. Image Courtesy of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas; Photos by Nancy Nolan PhotographyDining. Image Courtesy of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas; Photos by Nancy Nolan Photography+ 8

Dallas Architecture Forum Presents Kevin McClurkan


Dallas Architecture Forum, a non-profit organization for everyone interested in learning about and improving the architecture, design, landscape and urban fabric of the North Texas region is pleased to continue its 2015-16 Lecture Season with the outstanding architect Kevin McClurkan, Management Partner of Ennead Architects of New York City. McClurkan's many major projects include the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock; the Newseum adjacent to the US Capitol in Washington, DC; and The Standard hotel on the High Line Park in New York City. He will speak on Tuesday, November 3 at 7 p.m. in the Horchow Auditorium

Frank Lloyd Wright House Saved

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 preservation

AD Interviews: Marlon Blackwell

During the 2011 AIA Arkansas Convention I had the chance to meet one of the most influential architects in the state: Marlon Blackwell.