Studio Gang reveal design for expansion of Arkansas Arts Center at Little Rock

Starting from the inside out, the design clarifies the organization of the building and extends its presence into MacArthur Park and out to Crescent Lawn
– Jeanne Gang

The executive director of the Arkansas Arts Center (AAC), situated in Little Rock’s historic MacArthur Park, has announced details of a striking expansion for the attraction, designed by architects Studio Gang.

Todd Herman revealed that 127,000sq ft (11,800sq m) of renovated and new spaces will be created for the centre to strengthen the connections between the visual and performing arts in an inclusive space that welcomes a diverse community.

“This an exciting moment for the Arkansas Arts Center, central Arkansas, and the entire state. The reimagined Arts Center will be a welcoming place that encourages prolonged and meaningful interaction with the collection and programs at the Arts Center," he said.

“It’s intended to be a gathering place for the community that highlights the interplay between the AAC and the surrounding park.”

Design features of the reimagined facility will include an indoor/outdoor restaurant overlooking the park; a a new north entrance revealing the original 1930s façade; a second floor of galleries; expanded art studios; a new drawing research centre and conservation lab, a dedicated black box theatre; and a family art adventure space. A flexible ‘Cultural Living Room’ will serve as an extension of the galleries, an event space and a place for community gatherings.

Herman described the AAC – which is made up of eight additions to the 1937 Museum of Fine Arts – as “a very complicated puzzle”, adding that Studio Gang are “the right architects to transform our institution into a destination for arts education and a hub that connects the programs of the AAC with newly designed outdoor spaces.”

The concept design – developed by Studio Gang alongside Little Rock-based Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects and landscape firm SCAPE – reorganises the current programme and architectural envelope, while creating a new visual identity for the site. Described as “pleated, organic architecture”, the new north-facing city entrance will be connected to a glass pavilion and south-facing park entrance to create an open axis public gallery through the building, connecting all the different components.

“Starting from the inside out, the design clarifies the organization of the building and extends its presence into MacArthur Park and out to Crescent Lawn,” said Gang. “By doing so, the Center becomes a vibrant place for social interaction, education, and appreciation for the arts.”

Outside, the landscape design will feature “inviting spaces” inspired by Little Rock’s unique regional ecologies – including the banks of Fourche Creek, the bluffs of Emerald Park, and the agrarian landscapes of the Mississippi Delta. New public plazas and gardens will be added at the north and south entrances, and planted groves along the west side of the building will create a forested edge that blends into the park.

According to Herman, the building and landscape designs will serve to increase visitor services by 81 per cent, exhibitions and collections management by 25 per cent and educational and public programmes by 50 per cent. The centre currently welcomes more than 200,000 visitors annually, with 40,000 children and families using its dedicated Children's Theatre.

A construction budget, provided by public and private funds, has been set at US$70m (€57.4m, £50.8m), and groundbreaking is scheduled for Q4 2019. The project is anticipated to be completed in early 2022.

Studio Gang was selected as design architect out of five finalist firms in December 2016.

Describing the need for the project, Herman said: “More people visited art museums in the United States last year than attended every NFL and NBA game combined. In two recent studies conducted by the American Alliance of Museums, data shows that museums contribute US$50bn (€41.4bn, £36.3bn) to the US economy and generate more than US$12bn (€9.8bn, £8.7bn) a year in tax revenue.

“We expect that this project will set Little Rock apart from similar sized cities and be an essential partner in building our economic future.”

Arkansas Arts Center  Little Rock  Jeanne Gang  SCAPE  Todd Herman 
Related stories

Studio Gang reveal 'transformational' concept to revitalise Memphis riverfront

Studio Gang's intricate domed hive opens National Building Museum's summer series

Studio Gang will design next year's Summer Block Party for Washington D.C building museum

Jeanne Gang wins Architect of the Year at the Women in Architecture Awards

Studio Gang complete illuminated Chicago theatre

Studio Gang unveil cave design for American Museum of Natural History's US$325m expansion

The executive director of the Arkansas Arts Center (AAC), situated in Little Rock’s historic MacArthur Park, has announced details of a striking expansion for the attraction, designed by architects Studio Gang. Todd Herman revealed that 127,000sq ft (11,800sq m) of renovated and new spaces will be created for the centre to strengthen the connections between the visual and performing arts in an inclusive space that welcomes a diverse community. “This
CLD,VAT,HAM,AAC,ARC,DES
The concept design reorganises the current programme and architectural envelope, while creating a new visual identity for the site / Studio Gang
More news
News stories: 1 - 30 of 7542     
 
 
 
News stories: 1 - 30 of 7542     
 
 
 
company profile
Company profile: TVS Group
The TVS Group supply and install sports and fitness flooring to a wide range of facilities. We cater for every type of exercise and every level of competition, from recreational to elite level performance.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
features
The suites are sleek, modern and calming, with natural colours and materials
"Wellness embraces the entire holiday experience"

The design of the newly-opened Lefay Resort and Spa Dolomitti in Italy aims to celebrate and protect its spectacular surroundings

Francis graduated as a landscape architect in Belgium. He returned to Lebanon in 1993
"I believe gardens are where the soul rests"

With a focus on desert landscapes and collaborations with Zaha Hadid and OMA, the principal of Francis Landscapes has a deep belief in the power of nature

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
features
Marianne Shillingford
"The technology involved in paint is extraordinary"

Used cleverly, colour has the power to influence how people use the spaces they inhabit, says the creative director of Dulux

Manuelle Gautrand
"The cities where you have good cultural buildings and facilities – it’s a way for people to mix, to share the city in a much deeper way"

The French architect and winner of the 2017 European Prize for Architecture tells us why she is determined to surprise

features
"Most clients are very focused on how buildings are used and experienced as the primary design driver"

The MD of Schmidt Hammer Lassen and the CEO of PerkinsWill tell us why their merger will help create smarter buildings driven by human behaviour

Last word: Tina Norden
Tina Norden
"We have created an approach which is playful, provocative but also functional"

Conran and Partners’ Tina Norden on playing with colour at Prague’s newly redesigned Hotel Maximilian

cladkit product news
Tom Dixon collaborates with Prolicht to launch CODE lighting range
The product has three LED light sources: Dot, Dash and Grid
Megan Whitby
British designer, Tom Dixon, and Austrian architectural lighting specialists, Prolicht, have collaborated to unveil a new lighting range. Called CODE, ...
Metalline transforms London hotel with bespoke aluminium fins
The aluminium fins will form the façade of the upcoming Minories Hotel in Aldgate, London
Lauren Heath-Jones
Metalline, an architectural metalwork specialist based in the UK, has created a range of bespoke 3D twisted metal fins for ...
Barr + Wray to launch space saving hammam concept
Light shines through a striking central chandelier to create a feeling of movement
Katie Barnes
Smaller footprint. Maximum theatre. Those are the two main features of a new hammam concept being developed by wet spa ...
cladkit product news
Matteo Thun grows Allaperto collection with new suspended outdoor armchair
Megan Whitby
Allaperto, the lounge collection spawned by the partnership between design studios, Matteo Thun, Ethimo and Antonio Rodriguez, has been expanded ...
Daniel Svahn creates furniture collection using repurposed table tops
The Goodies But Oldies collection features three pieces made from repurposed MDF table tops
Lauren Heath-Jones
Daniel Svahn, a Stockholm-based furniture designer, has created a new range of sustainable furnishings, made from recycled MDF tabletops. Svahn, ...
1885 Lounge at St Mary's Stadium celebrates Southampton FC's history
Rainbow Design worked closely with KSS Architects to ensure the furniture matched the design vision
Lauren Heath-Jones
KSS Architects has partnered with Rainbow Design, a London-based furniture supplier, to create the 1885 Lounge at St Mary's Stadium, ...
cladkit product news
Painting with Light pushes boundaries to create unforgettable visual concepts
The team combines lighting, video, sound and special effects, with scenic and architectural elements, to create unforgettable visual experiences
Megan Whitby
Belgium-based light and video design studio, Painting with Light, will translate the story of your location into a visual experience, ...
Ritz Carlton co-founder joins Frontline Summit 2020 as keynote speaker
Hospitality veteran and Ritz Carlton co-founder, Horst Schulze, who brings more than 65 years’ experience to the table, has been announced as a keynote
Megan Whitby
Frontline work has never been more important and frontline workers are the largest class of workers on the planet, as ...
XTU concept imagines life in the clouds
XTU's X Cloud concept is part of the Future and the Arts: AI, Robotic, Cities, Life - How Humanity Will Live Tomorrow exhibition at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo
Lauren Heath-Jones
XTU Architects, a Paris-based architecture firm, has released images and renderings of X Cloud, a new concept that showcase a ...
x
Sign up with CLAD for regular news updates