Architecture school breaks ground for new center


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA / KFTA) – The Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design broke ground on November 5th for their newest building, the Anthony Timberlands Center for Design and Materials Innovation.

The new center will focus on wood design, product development, construction techniques, and architecture and product design.

“The Anthony Timberlands Center for Design and Materials Innovation will be an important – and beautiful – addition to our campus,” said Interim Chancellor Charles Robinson. “This facility will offer our students meaningful learning opportunities and open up new avenues of discovery and applied research to our faculty.”

The new facility itself will be a reflection of the Arkansas forests.

The $ 26.5 million, nearly 45,000 square meter building is being designed by Grafton Architects of Dublin, Ireland, under the direction of Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara. Grafton also works with Modus Studio of Fayetteville

The center will include a high-bay manufacturing workshop, studios, seminar and conference rooms, faculty offices and outdoor terraces. The center will also include a small auditorium and a public exhibition space. The project is planned and built according to LEED Gold standards.

The Fay Jones School did not take lightly the decision of who would be the lead designer for the new project. An international design competition was launched and funded by a grant from the US Forest Service and the US Endowment for Forestry and Communities.

When we read the competition papers for this project in Dublin, we were impressed by the description of the University of Arkansas as the patron of solid wood structures and the approach of the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design to sustainability and wood research at the university. We were also impressed by the clear requirement that wood and wood products from Arkansas must be taken into account for the structure, for the enclosing shell and for the interior surfaces and furnishings of the building

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara

More than 62,000 cubic feet of wood will be used on the project. Landscaping will include native species such as black gum, tulip poplar, water oak, sycamore maple, maple, and pine.

Contributions to the center come from University of Arkansas alumni, with John Ed Anthony and his wife Isabel contributing $ 7.5 million.

Further support comes from:

  • Alumnus Ken Shollmier and his wife Linda Sue from Little Rock, who have accepted the facility.
  • Ray and Deborah Dillon of Little Rock, whose $ 1 million donation will be split between the Anthony Timberlands Center and a new endowed chair in wood and wood design and innovation for the school.
  • Alumnus Tom Rowland naming the Anthony Timberlands Center exhibit gallery with a $ 317,000 real estate gift.
  • Modus Studio from Fayetteville, which is contributing $ 250,000 to the center and will name the seminar and conference room after the company.
  • The Nabholz Charitable Foundation, which has pledged $ 100,000 to support the center. A special attribution opportunity in recognition of their generosity will be set at a later date.

“It is possible to build an academic building of this kind, especially in wood construction and wooden elements,” says Dean Peter Mackeith. “With that in mind, we made an early decision not just to do it that way, but to get as much as possible from the Arkansas forests.”

The facility will be located in the Windgate Art and Design District and is expected to be completed by early 2024.

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