The Anthony Timberlands Center for Design and Materials Innovation, US
Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design
Driving along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard you can feel the presence of the vast forested hills that stretch far into the Boston Mountains. This abundance of forests means Arkansas has been a global force in timber production for more than 100 years. As the home of the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville is an epicenter of knowledge in the state. Our vision for the new Anthony Timberlands Center is designed to inspire the university's community of wood enthusiasts, planting the seeds for a sustainable future.Read more ↓
Rugged plateaus and valleys covered in rich forest surrounds the city of Fayetteville. This wealth of wood has shaped the history of the region and a culture of deep-rooted knowledge in timber production. The Anthony Timberlands Center will be a new specialized division of Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design solely dedicated to educating the future experts in wood design. Inspired by the local history, our proposal aims to set global standards for innovative wooden constructions.
Our vision for the Anthony Timberlands Center embodies the complete life cycle of wood – starting from a sapling that grows on the porches of the building. It showcases the handling and processing of wood, from traditional techniques to advanced research and innovation – all in the search of a sustainable future with wood at the forefront.
The five-floor building is a simple, tapering vessel defined by a diagrid façade. Combining traditional craftmanship with advanced milling technologies to create elegant connections, the lightweight timber structure reduces any excess need for material. Through the outer layer of subtly overlapping glass, passersby will catch glimpses of students working in the fabrication lab or the latest completed projects on exhibit. The entrance hall is a generous and fluid space. A large staircase connecting the first and second floor provides an informal gathering space for talks, seminars, or social events.
The Anthony Timberlands Center is flooded with daylight, filtered through the wooden construction like beams of light streaming through trees. The porch motif – already familiar within Arkansas’ architectural vernacular – is reimagined as a balcony between the layers in the façade. It creates a meeting space, a tree nursery, and a way to regulate temperature and light. In the warm seasons, it can be opened to allow the summer breeze inside.
Encouraging interdisciplinary interaction between students
An open atrium extends throughout the center of the building, from the fabrication floor to the roof terrace, like a clearing within a forest. While traversing the open atrium, visitors will enjoy uninterrupted views to various activities in the building as well as the landscape beyond. The stair circles upward and culminates in a rooftop garden that provides a 360-degree view overlooking Fayetteville and the Boston Mountains.
At the heart of the building is the fabrication lab – a workshop for creating, learning and knowledge sharing. With its central position, cross-pollination is encouraged between disciplines and understandings – a community that is open to all. Transparent, inviting, connected, and filled with light, the building allows informal meetings and exchange of knowledge to take place everywhere.
Dorte Mandrup was amongst the six finalists for the Anthony Timberland Center for Design and Materials Innovation. Grafton Architects was selected as the winner in 2020.