Sanjay Gangal is the President of IBSystems, the parent company of AECCafe.com, MCADCafe, EDACafe.Com, GISCafe.Com, and ShareCG.Com.
Vol Walker Hall & the Steven L. Anderson Design Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas by MARLON BLACKWELL ARCHITECTS
March 12th, 2018 by Sanjay Gangal
Article source: MARLON BLACKWELL ARCHITECTS
The Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design at the University of Arkansas is a striking hybrid of a beautifully restored and renovated historical building, Vol Walker Hall (65,000 SF), and a contemporary insertion and addition, the Steven L. Anderson Design Center (37,000 SF). The coupling of old and new invigorates the historical center of the campus and revitalizes the educational environment of Vol Walker Hall, the campus’s original library and home to the School of Architecture since 1968. The expanded facility unites all three departments – architecture, landscape architecture, and interior design – under one roof for the first time, reinforcing the School’s identity and creating a cross-disciplinary, collaborative learning environment.
The Anderson Design Center is a modern complement to the neo-classical architecture of Vol Walker Hall, sensitive to the past and conceived to enhance the spatial character of the historic campus plan. Unused stack spaces at the center of Vol Walker Hall were removed to make room for the addition and allow for a proper west entry, establishing circulation through the building along the main axis of the University. The addition’s contemporary vocabulary resonates with the traditional structure through massing, proportion, and material while providing an identity as a progressive design school.
The Indiana limestone cladding and steel windows of Vol Walker Hall, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, are meticulously restored while the interior renovation establishes a middle ground between minimalism and classicism. The new white interior finishes of the renovation and addition provide continuity from old to new.
The previously dysfunctional Central Gallery is transformed into a vibrant, day-lit gathering space at the heart of the school. A backlit fabric ceiling illuminates the space and provides required acoustic control while an oculus brings in natural light and acts as a window to the sky in the center of the space. A new steel plate portal slices through the west wall to frame the connection to the addition.
Glass enclosed stairwells reveal the formal joint between renovation and addition, delivering daylight into the center of the building. Post-tensioned, architectural concrete construction and Indiana limestone rainscreen panels give the Anderson Design Center weight and substance that honor its historic counterpart. A fritted glass brise-soleil screens the intense western sunlight while the curtain wall simultaneously allows natural light to fill the studios.
Review and collaboration spaces are integrated into each studio throughout the building, acknowledging the critical role of these spaces in design education. A new 200 seat auditorium fulfills a critical need of the School to provide space for lectures and School events. The Anderson Design Center’s expansive roof terrace is both a green roof and a covered outdoor classroom and event space; the elevated vantage point affords dramatic views over the surrounding campus, city, and landscape.
The overall design is a didactic model, establishing a tangible discourse between the past and present while providing state-of-the-art-facilities for 21st century architectural and design education while achieving LEED Gold in recognition of the sustainable and urban strategies employed.
Contact MARLON BLACKWELL ARCHITECTS