If you’ve driven by the new Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts building, you’ve probably noticed that it’s pretty nifty looking. Even if you’re not architecturally savvy, it’s easy to tell that the 133,000-square-foot structure, which announces itself with an irregular roofline and massive glass windows, was designed to stand out, so much so that Architectural Digest magazine has taken notice. In a short online article highlighting noteworthy discoveries in the way of design and decor, AMFA has received a nod. Here’s what they have to say:
Architect Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang and landscape architect Kate Orff of SCAPE have teamed up to transform the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts—and to cement Little Rock’s place on the cultural map. Set on an 11-acre campus at the heart of the capital, AMFA had become a warren of inward-facing additions since its opening in 1937. Today, with some deft demolition, the introduction of a biodiverse landscape, and a 133,000-square-foot extension, the museum has the look and feel of the local artistic anchor it has long been. “The museum was already doing all the things museums try to do these days to build community,” says Gang, whose expansion reorients the complex toward MacArthur Park with a petal-shaped central structure. The original Art Deco façade shines anew as an entrance, protected within a courtyard created by Gang’s striking volume of cast-in-place concrete. Inside, visitors can admire the undulating slatted-wood ceiling and clerestory windows as they head to performances in the restored 1960s theater or grab a meal at the vast restaurant. Outside, the museum now extends along 2,200 feet of walking paths dotted with sculptures. Says Gang: “The project was about liberating the museum, giving it order, and making these really beautiful spaces.” arkmfa.org
The Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts reopens on Saturday, April 22, or 32 days, 18 hours and a handful of minutes from the time of this publication.
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