UA Picks Grafton Architects for Anthony Timberlands Center

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Trustees for the University of Arkansas have approved Grafton Architects of Dublin, Ireland, in partnership with Modus Studio of Fayetteville as the project team for the planned Anthony Timberlands Center for Design and Materials Innovation.

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, co-founders of Grafton Architects, were recently named the 2020 recipients of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, an award known internationally as architecture’s highest honor.

“We are very excited about building our first building in the United States in Fayetteville, Arkansas,” Farrell and McNamara said in a UA news release. “This building helps us think about the future optimistically, where the use of timber with all its possibilities, becomes real, useful and hopefully loved.”

Grafton, working with Modus Studio, will develop the design for the new $16 million design research center, which will be part of the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design and located on the northeast corner of the university’s Windgate Art and Design District. 

The applied research center will serve as the center of the Fay Jones School’s timber and wood design initiatives, house the school’s existing and expanding design-build program and fabrication technologies laboratories, and serve as the new home to the school’s emerging graduate program in timber and wood design.

“We are delighted and honored by this opportunity to work with Grafton Architects and the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design,” said Chris Baribeau, principal at Modus Studio. “This is a unique opportunity to see the possibilities of an innovative wood building through an international lens while lending our Ozark perspective. 

“Our passion for craft in architecture and making will serve our University of Arkansas students, faculty and staff for years to come.”

A total of 69 firms from 10 countries answered the university’s request for qualifications from architects that was released Oct. 4. Finalists presented proposals for the project last month. 

The design on the project is scheduled to begin this summer.