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Grafton and Waugh Thistleton proposals for Arkansas timber design school revealed

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The University of Arkansas has revealed the six shortlisted designs for a new $16 million (£12.5 million) timber design and fabrication facility, including entries by Grafton Architects and Waugh Thistleton Architects

Also in the running are Copenhagen’s Dorte Mandrup, Kennedy & Violich Architecture of Boston, LEVER Architecture from Portland, and Tokyo’s Shigeru Ban Architects. Waugh Thistleton’s entry is a collaboration with Connecticut-based Gray Organschi Architecture.

The winner will design and deliver the Anthony Timberlands Center for Design and Materials Innovation for the university, which is in Fayetteville in the north-west of the southern US state. The project is set to start on site in May 2021 and complete in 2022.

The competition is being partly funded by the US Forest Service and the US Endowment for Forestry and Communities.

The centre is intended as a showcase for mass timber and wood product construction and the materials are expected to be drawn from forests and mills within the state.

The building will be an annexe to the existing Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design and will be located on the university’s new Windgate Art and Design District on nearby Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard.

The six teams were shortlisted from 69 entries in November and were given until 31 January to draw up their proposals. The 4,650m² structure will feature classrooms, studios, seminar spaces, conference areas, faculty offices and residential spaces for visiting faculty members.

Concepts will now be evaluated a team featuring Toshiko Mori of Toshiko Mori Architects; Robert P Hubbard, professor of practice at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design; Tod Williams of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects; and Juhani Pallasmaa of Juhani Pallasmaa Architects in Helsinki, Finland.

A decision on the overall winner could be made this month, according to local newspaper Arkansas Democrat Gazette.

The shortlist

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