The Irish firm, Grafton Architects, has undergone a strenuous review process by the University of Arkansas. This was to win the chance to design the Anthony Timberlands Center for Design and Materials Innovation. Grafton Architects is founded by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara; they won the 2020 Pritzker Price recently.

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, Image courtesy of Grafton Architects

The competition

The Grafton Architects were chosen for this project from a shortlist of six proposals; they beat out five well-known architectural firms.

The board of trustees had the job of choosing the winning firm. Grafton Architects blew their minds with their design. This is because of the firm’s practical demonstration of the potential timber as a building material has. The board felt that their proposal created a memorable institutional landmark that suits the urban landscape housed by Fayetteville.

The competition that set the Grafton Architects apart from the other firms got its funds from the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities.

The Anthony Timberland Center

The Center for Design and Materials Innovation will be Farrell and McNamara’s first project in the states. The firm won because of its building production and projects that help provide solutions to urban and social issues.

The Irish firm will be working together with an Arkansas-based firm by the name of Modus Studio. Together they will work on this $16 million design project for the prestigious Fay Jones School of Architecture. The Center will be a research centre for the purpose of timber and wood design projects.

The Fay Jones School of Architecture preaches an initiative in extensive research in sustainable architecture for the community. The University places a large amount of emphasis on the timber. Timber’s structural properties have helped popularise the use of timber as a building material in North America.

The design

The design of the Anthony Timberlands Center represents the Institution’s goal to make wood and timber designs. It will also pay tribute to the environment and the climate in the locality.

Image Courtesy: Grafton Architects

The research centre will house the Architecture department’s new and anticipated program in timber and wood design. It will also welcome the design-build fabrication technologies laboratories that have existed for a long time.

Farrell and McNamara have stated that the project makes them feel optimistic about the future. The firm cannot wait to be a part of making the use of timber real, useful and hopefully loved.

When asked about the designs for the new building, the firm will follow its constantly-used design. They plan on a civic quality building with plenty of natural light throughout the interior space.

The project is set to be put in motion in the summer of 2020, according to the Fay Jones School of Architecture. The firm’s first project in the states will be in Fayetteville, Arkansas.


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