The Anthony Timberlands Center for Design and Materials Innovation
WT/GO Architecture, a joint international venture between Gray Organschi Architecture and Waugh Thistleton Architects, was selected as a finalist to present a concept design for the Anthony Timberlands Center for Design and Materials Innovation in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The international competition seeks a progressive, modern design that demonstrates creative approaches to sustainability and will be a vibrant contributor to the broader campus of the University of Arkansas and its emerging Windgate Art and Design District. The building will serve as the epicentre for the Fay Jones School of Architecture’s multiple timber and wood initiatives as well as house the school’s design-build program and digital fabrication laboratories. Other shortlisted teams include Dorte Mandrup A/S, Grafton Architects, Kennedy & Violich Architecture, LEVER Architecture, and Shigeru Ban Architects. The final result of the competition will be announced in May 2020.
Drawing inspiration from Arkansas’s forested landscapes and its history of industrial and agricultural structures, the design features a pleated roofscape that channels rainwater into a system of constructed wetlands, functioning in much the same way that the Ozark watersheds drain the range’s rocky ridges and forested piedmont.
A series of interwoven spaces within the building celebrate the logistics of material delivery, processing, and manufacture, their integration into academic research and experimentation, and their engagement of the public through the center’s activities and events. Each space flows into the next and each is inflected and informed by its adjacencies. The weave of structure, spatial experience, and educational program suffuses the building as it rises from the heavy rammed earth floors and trunk-like piers of the workshop up through the attic studios and library archive where daylight falls through a canopy of open rafter bays and slatted windows.
The design of the Anthony Timberlands Center for Design and Materials Innovation represents a rare and significant opportunity to engage the students and faculty of the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design and their colleagues at the University in a comprehensive and fully integrated interdisciplinary process of research, analysis, design, and technical elaboration. We propose this process as means to build a meaningful and useful piece of architecture that also crafts a strong and durable institution and forges a community of thinkers and makers committed to its success.
Renderings by Brick Visual.