Designers chosen to improve sense of place in NW Arkansas
Seeking to raise the quality of design for public buildings and spaces in Northwest Arkansas, the Walton Family Foundation is paying architecture fees of a select group of designers.
The program is oriented toward creating a strong public realm in the region that includes the cities of Bentonville—where Walmart is headquartered—Fayetteville, Springdale, and Rogers.
"The establishment of a design excellence program in Northwest Arkansas was driven by the Walton Family Foundation’s effort to preserve the region’s sense of place. Over the last 25 years, the population in Northwest Arkansas has more than doubled, creating opportunities and challenges in planning and design. The Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program will encourage quality design of public spaces, while complementing the rich architectural history of the region’s urban fabric."
The Foundation announced the 36 selected firms for its inaugural pool of designers for the Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program. The announcement concludes a two-month nationwide search for innovative designers that will contribute to the future of the urban landscape in Northwest Arkansas.
The program takes its cue from Columbus, Indiana, a small city in the south-central part of the state that has become famed for its architecture, due to the patronage of industrialists J. Irwin Miller. While the Columbus program focused on creating architectural icons, the Northwest Arkansas program is geared toward creating a stronger sense of place.
Guiding design principles
- Projects shall pay special attention to the present and planned ensemble of streets and adjacent buildings and spaces, so that the projects engage and improve the overall neighborhood fabric and its ecological context and function.
- Designs shall adhere to sound construction practice and utilize materials, methods and equipment of proven dependability resulting in a long life cycle with possibilities for adaptive reuse.
- Specific attention shall be paid to the possibilities of incorporating design qualities that reflect and reinvigorate the architectural traditions of the region.
Architectural context in downtown Fayetteville
The list of firms includes many architects that do contextual work in infilll locations. Several are active new urbanists, and some have recently won CNU Charter Awards.
A smaller group of firms from this list will be chosen by the selection committee for the three pilot projects previously announced in September. Those projects include a new 51,500-square-foot performance arts space for TheatreSquared in downtown Fayetteville, a 28,000-square-foot adaptive reuse building for the Rogers Historical Museum in downtown Rogers and a new 35,000-square-foot facility and half-acre playground for the Helen R. Walton Children’s Enrichment Center in Bentonville. Each grantee will independently select the final firm and design.
The companies selected for 2015 pool will remain in the program for five years or until they are selected for a project. The program will host an annual open-submission process that will likely happen in the fall of each year.
Here's the complete list of selectees:
Anmahian Winton Architects, Cambridge, MA
Alta Planning and Design, Davidson, NC
Bing Thom Architects, Vancouver, BC
Brian Healy Architects, Somerville, MA
Brininstool + Lynch, Chicago, IL
David M. Schwarz Architects, Inc., Washington, D.C.
De Leon & Primmer Architecture Workshop, Louisville, KY
Deborah Berke Partners, New York, NY
DLAND Studio Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Brooklyn, NY
Duvall Decker Architects, Jackson, MS
Ennead Architects, New York, NY
Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, New Orleans, LA
Grimshaw, New York, NY
GWWO, Inc./Architects, Baltimore, MD
HBRA Architects, Chicago, IL
HGA Architects and Engineers, Minneapolis, MN
KieranTimberlake, Philadelphia, PA
Lake-Flato, San Antonio, TX
Louise Braverman Architect, New York, NY
LTL Architects, New York, NY
Marlon Blackwell Architects, Fayetteville, AR
Martinez + Johnson Architecture, Washington, D.C.
Marvel Architects, New York, NY
Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, Minneapolis, MN
Michael Van Valkenburgh Architects, Brooklyn, NY
Modus Studio, Fayetteville, AR
Overland Partners, San Antonio, TX
Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects, Little Rock
Rice+Lipka Architects, New York, NY
Robert A.M. Stern Architects, New York, NY
Robert Sharp Architects & Massengale Architecture PLLC, Fayetteville, AR | NY, NY
Schwartz/Silver Architects, Boston, MA
Spackman Mossop Michaels, New Orleans, LA
Stoss Landscape Urbanism, Boston, MA
Trahan Architects, New Orleans, LA
WXY Architecture + Urban Design, New York, NY