Dublin-based Grafton Architects and Fayetteville-based Modus Studio have won an international design competition for the Anthony Timberlands Center for Design and Materials Innovation at the University of Arkansas’ Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design. Developed to bolster the university’s role as a leader in mass timber advocacy, the $16 million applied research center will be a “story book of timber” promoting timber and wood design initiatives. The architecture of the Anthony Timberlands Center will also be used as a teaching tool and showcase the versatility and beauty of various timbers to the public.

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a geometric wood building against a blue sky background

Crowned the competition winner after a months-long process that included a total of 69 firms, Grafton Architects also made recent headlines when its co-founders, Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, were named the 2020 recipients of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. The Anthony Timberlands Center will be the firm’s first building in the United States and will be located in Fayetteville, Arkansas on the northeast corner of the University of Arkansas’ Windgate Art and Design District.

a wood structure with a pavilion and people walking around

The new applied research center will house the Fay Jones School’s existing and expanding design/build program and fabrication technologies labs as well as the school’s emerging graduate program in timber and wood design. Created with the public in mind, the Anthony Timberlands Center will draw the eye of passersby with its dramatic cascading roof that responds to the local climate while capturing natural light. Inside, soaring ceiling heights and rhythmical open spaces evoke a forest setting.

Related: Canada’s first net-zero carbon, mass-timber college building to rise in Toronto

interior of a timber structure with cross beams

“The basic idea of this new Anthony Timberlands Center is that the building itself is a Story Book of Timber,” said Farrell in a University of Arkansas press release. “We want people to experience the versatility of timber, both as the structural ‘bones’ and the enclosing ‘skin’ of this new building. The building itself is a teaching tool, displaying the strength, color, grain, texture and beauty of the various timbers used.”

+ Grafton Architects

Images via Grafton Architects