Anthony Timberlands Center Earns Three Honors at World Architecture Festival 2023

The Anthony Timberlands Center for Design and Materials Innovation at the U of A received three international honors from the World Architecture Festival 2023.
Rendering by Picture Plane

The Anthony Timberlands Center for Design and Materials Innovation at the U of A received three international honors from the World Architecture Festival 2023.

The Anthony Timberlands Center for Design and Materials Innovation at the U of A has received three international honors from the World Architecture Festival 2023. The project won the 2023 Visualization Prize, sponsored by Lumion, received a "Highly Commended" citation in the Future Projects: Education category and was one of eight projects to receive a WAFX award in the Building Technology category. 

The World Architecture Festival is the largest global awards program and conference dedicated to sharing and celebrating the latest in architectural achievements. It is the only awards program where all finalists present their projects live to a panel of judges at the festival. This year's festival saw almost 500 award finalists across more than 50 categories. The Anthony Timberlands Center was one of only a handful of projects nominated from North America in the entire festival.

Over the course of three days at the festival, held last week in Singapore, Dean Peter MacKeith presented the project to three different juries. Prizes for projects were announced at the end of each day, with the final awards announced at a ceremony on Dec. 1.

The WAFX award heralds the world's most forward-looking architectural concepts and is awarded to future projects that identify key challenges that architects will need to address in the coming years. This year, the judges have selected the winners that they believe are all excellent examples of projects that address the big issues facing architecture, society and the planet.

The new research center, part of the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design, is under construction in the university's Art and Design District on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in south Fayetteville.

"To present this project on behalf of the school, the university and the entire architecture and design and construction team was a privilege and, in fact, a daunting responsibility," said MacKeith, dean of the Fay Jones School. "The response in each case to the project was consistently appreciative and admired. As well, the promotion of the university and the state of Arkansas as a place of architectural excellence, design innovation and sustainable building methods elicited a strong, evident surprise from these professional audiences from across the world. The university and the state are now known as a place of extraordinary value in architecture culture. People are clearly now looking forward to the completed project and visiting us here."

The Anthony Timberlands Center has been designed by Grafton Architects of Dublin, Ireland, with Fayetteville-based Modus Studio. Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, co-founders of Grafton Architects, are the 2020 recipients of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, an award known internationally as architecture's highest honor.

This regional center will be focused on the research and development of new wood products and new approaches in sustainable construction materials. The building serves as a model of mass timber and wood product construction, with its eventual role being to educate and inspire design students in the ways wood can be used in construction while supporting the timber industry in Arkansas.

The new center will serve as home to the Fay Jones School's graduate program in timber and wood and as an epicenter for its multiple timber and wood initiatives — in particular, the prototyping of affordable housing. It will house the school's existing design-build program and an expanded digital fabrication laboratory.

With a particular focus on Arkansas-sourced timber and wood, the center will serve the greater good of Arkansas by building on the rapid and productive commitment of the Fay Jones School and the U of A to sustainability and the emerging innovative timber economy. Given its prominence in timber production, the research excellence of its state university system and the national reputation of the Fay Jones School, Arkansas is uniquely positioned to respond to the local, national and global trend toward the use of wood in construction and other industries.

Located in the university's Art and Design District, the four-story, 44,800-square-foot Anthony Timberlands Center will feature a fabrication shop as its largest and most active space. This will encompass a large central bay, with a metal workshop, seminar room and small digital lab, as well as a dedicated space for a large CNC router. These spaces will be served by an overhead crane that runs on rails outside to move large equipment and assemblies in and out of the building.

In addition, the center will include studios, seminar and conference rooms, faculty offices, a small auditorium and a public exhibition space.

Two covered outdoor teaching terraces and a 12,000-square-foot pedestrian plaza are part of the Aubra H. Anthony Sr. "Lumberman" Woodland Gardens at the center. The plaza, known as Anthony Way, will be located on the western side of the center. This area will feature a grove of softwood and hardwood trees of the same species that represent those native to the state and commonly used in manufacturing and construction.

Collectively, the building, the programs it houses and the collaborative relationships it fosters will be of great benefit to students in their architectural education, revealing a layered and nuanced series of embedded relationships, creating an expanded understanding of sustainability, one that moves beyond embodied energy and carbon sequestration to address broader economic development for rural communities. 


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


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