Located in Little Rock, the Arkansas Arts Center is currently undergoing a $142 million transformation to become the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts. The new museum will include an increase in space of almost 50% and the addition of 13 acres of new grounds.
The signature feature of Studio Gang’s design is a new structure, dubbed the Blossom, that winds through the length of the museum. Defined outwardly by its pleated roof, the Blossom will become the core of the visitor experience, laying out a clear path for visitors, uniting the museum’s programmed spaces, and providing major new public features at either end: an expansive glass-enclosed gathering space overlooking the Downtown side, and a restaurant that spreads out into MacArthur Park. The pleated roof also allows for the collection of storm water, which will feed the park’s new gardens and native perennial meadows.
The project joins the landscape experience with the museum and provides 2,200 linear feet of new paths and trails throughout 13 acres of MAcArthur Park. Inspiration for the landscape (designed by SCAPE Landscape Architecture) draws from Little Rock’s unique regional ecologies, including the banks of Fourche Creek, the bluffs of Emerald Park, and the agrarian landscapes of the Mississippi Delta.
SCAPE’s design preserves many of the parks existing mature trees and relies on sustainable, native plantings and incorporates more than 50 species of perennials, shrubs, native trees, and ornamental grasses. An additional 250 new trees will be planted, which will create a canopy throughout the park over time.
The Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts is slated for completion in spring 2022.