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Safdie Architects expands Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville

United States Architecture News - Apr 09, 2021 - 14:30   9044 views

Safdie Architects expands Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville

Moshe Safdie's firm Safdie Architects has unveiled images for the expansion of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.

The firm and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art have announced that the new plans will increase the size of the current facilities by 50 percent with new galleries, educational facilities, and community spaces to allow visitors to have access to more art, outreach, programs, and events.

The new plans of the museum will add nearly 100,000 square feet (9,290 square meters) to the 200,000-square-foot facility (18,580 square meters).

The expansion will allow the museum to showcase its growing collection and welcome more visitors to experience the power of art, in an inclusive environment. 

Safdie Architects expands Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville

Close aerial of Crystal Bridges looking north.

Safdie Architects completed the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville in 2011. The architect will now return to the project to takeover its major expansion.

The expansion of the project is in the design development phase, while construction is aimed to commence in early 2022 and it is aimed to be completed in 2024. 

Envisioned to support Crystal Bridges’ commitment to free access to art for all, the new space will increase capacity for presenting art and exhibitions, educational and outreach initiatives, cultural programming, and community events.

"It’s wonderful to see how our community and travelers from around the world have enjoyed art nestled in nature and immersed in Moshe Safdie’s architecture. With the number of visitors we welcome annually, it’s timely to enlarge our building and make sure more people can access these offerings," said Alice Walton, Crystal Bridges founder and board chairperson.

Safdie Architects expands Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville

New bridge connecting two galleries, with view to cafe and natural surroundings.

For the expansion, Safdie Architects creates a seamlessly integrated expansion that resonates with the existing pavilions and outdoor spaces. 

New structures will house additional galleries, educational facilities, event spaces, a café, and new indoor and outdoor gathering spaces. 

Extending the long-term partnership between Crystal Bridges and Safdie Architects, the design continues the deep integration of art, architecture, and nature that has become synonymous with Crystal Bridges.

As a precursor to the expansion, a reconfigured main lobby and courtyard, also designed by Safdie Architects, will be completed in May 2021.

"It has been a joy to see Crystal Bridges’ enthusiastic reception by the public. We are honored to be back and working with the museum to realize a series of new facilities which will enrich the diversity of the museum experience," said Moshe Safdie, founder of Safdie Architects.

Safdie Architects expands Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville

View from cafe onto new event plaza.

Safdie Architects' new design scheme includes an increased gallery space (by 65 percent) that will allow the museum to present art with two new galleries while also adding to existing space for temporary exhibitions and offering new spaces for community displays.

The new design will also contain more educational spaces and a dedicated floor with community gathering areas, art studios, maker spaces, and flexible facilities will engage creators of all ages and abilities.

Moshe Safdie also designs a new bridge which connects two galleries that could add non-traditional space for art that is not sensitive to light. With floor-to-ceiling views of the natural surroundings, it will offer spaces for reflection and gathering, including a new café.

Adding a circular event plaza to the scheme, it will increase opportunities for outdoor community programming and performances.

Safdie Architects expands Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville

Aerial of Crystal Bridges looking south.

Crystal Bridges and Safdie Architects are working with Coen+Partners Landscape Architects to develop dedicated outdoor spaces, and enhancements to the existing network of surrounding trails and art encounters. 

Buro Happold will be responsible for the structural, façade, and MEP engineering of the project, the team will continue its collaboration on the innovative series of interconnected, pavilions that bridge, surround, and create the ponds that are an integral part of the museum design.

Project facts

Design Architect: Safdie Architects

Associate Architect: Hight Jackson

Structural, Façade, and MEP Engineers: Buro Happold

Civil Engineers: CEI Engineers

Landscape Architects: Coen+Partners

Lighting: LAM

Contractor: Flintco

All images courtesy of Safdie Architects.

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