Arkansas Design Projects Shared on International Stage at 2019 World Architecture Festival

The Evans Tree House at Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs is shortlisted in the Completed Projects-Civic and Community category of the 2019 World Architecture Festival.
Timothy Hursley

The Evans Tree House at Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs is shortlisted in the Completed Projects-Civic and Community category of the 2019 World Architecture Festival.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas is on the international stage this week with two design projects being presented at the 2019 World Architecture Festival in Amsterdam.

These projects, designed by faculty, staff and alumni of the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design at the University of Arkansas, are finalists in the festival's annual awards program.

The World Architecture Festival is a leading global design awards program in architecture, urban design and landscape architecture. These two projects are among 534 shortlisted projects from 70 countries in 33 design categories for the festival — and they are among only 22 from the United States and the only ones by Arkansas-based designers.

The Evans Tree House in Hot Springs is one of 17 projects shortlisted in the Completed Projects-Civic and Community category. It is the only project in this category located in the United States; others are in China, Taiwan, Australia, Sweden, Japan, New Zealand and Mexico.

The Evans Tree House was designed by Modus Studio, a Fayetteville-based firm led by Fay Jones School alumni. It opened in summer 2018 within the Evans Children's Adventure Garden at Garvan Woodland Gardens, which is the botanical garden of the U of A and part of the Fay Jones School.

The design offers an interactive educational experience for children that is part of an ambitious plan to bring children back into the woods. The underlying theme of dendrology — the study of trees and wooded plants — drives both the form and program of the structure. The 113 ribs of thermalized, Arkansas-sourced southern yellow pine create an evocative, semi-transparent form that focuses attention on the natural wonders of the forest canopy.

Modus Studio was founded in 2008 and is led by partners and Fay Jones School alumni Chris Baribeau (B.Arch. '03), Josh Siebert (B.Arch. '02) and Jason Wright (B.Arch. '04).

"As our first nomination for a World Architecture Festival award, we are truly honored to be able to represent the Evans Tree House on the world stage and share how the state of Arkansas expresses civic and community projects as not just stories for the urban age, but also for the critical prospect of keeping our citizens connected to the natural world," Baribeau said. "The tree house is a vehicle to inspire young and old alike to experience the forests, ravines and hillsides of the Ouachitas in a unique way, guided by an organic and mysterious architecture."

The Wahiawa Value-Added Product Development Center in Wahiawa, Hawaii, is one of 16 projects shortlisted in the Future Projects-Education category. It is the only project in this category sited in the United States; the others are sited in Russia, Poland, United Kingdom, Australia, Antarctica, China, Jordan, Chile, India, Scotland, Turkey and Kazakhstan. Faculty and staff within the U of A Community Design Center designed the project with the U of A Resiliency Center and Urban Works Inc., an architectural firm in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The Community Design Center and the Resiliency Center are outreach programs of the Fay Jones School.

This project repurposes an existing metal warehouse in downtown Wahiawa as a value-added product development center or food maker space for the University of Hawaii Community Colleges system. The center will support postsecondary education in the incubation, marketing and commercialization of value-added food products from the creative reuse of local agricultural waste streams. It is part of an island-wide portfolio of cooperative food hubs and facilities being developed by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture to support the development of local food supply chains.

Four other projects by the Community Design Center and their partners have been shortlisted in previous World Architecture Festival awards programs.

A delegation from the Fay Jones School is presenting these two projects before an international jury at the 2019 festival. Dean Peter MacKeith and Josh Siebert with Modus Studio are presenting the Evans Tree House, while Steve Luoni and Marty Matlock are presenting the Wahiawa Value-Added Product Development Center. Luoni is director of the Community Design Center, and Matlock is executive director of the Resiliency Center. 


Michelle Parks, director of communications
Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design


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