Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Museum Store

2015 Institute Honor Awards for Interior Architecture Bentonville / United States / 2014

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The work of a local Arkansas basket maker, Leon Niehues, known for his sculpturally ribbed baskets made from young white oak trees from the Ozarks, provided the design inspiration for the museum store, located at the heart of the Moshe Safdie–designed museum (2011) in Bentonville, Arkansas. The 3,040-square-foot store presented several design challenges, including a west-facing glass storefront that caused significant heat gain and an array of concrete columns that interrupted the interior.


A series of 224 parallel ribs, made of locally harvested cherry plywood, were digitally fabricated directly from the firm’s BIM model. Beginning at the top of the exterior glass wall, the ribs extend across the ceiling and down the long rear wall of the store. Likened to the ribbed underside of a lamella mushroom, the surface undulates to create an elegant sectional profile and also serves the practical function of providing filtered shade from the intense western sun. The porosity and regularity of the system also provide flexibility for controlling heating/cooling systems and lighting and for hanging merchandise. The space is primarily day-lit, accented by minimal LED spotlights that slot between the ribs and volumetric sculptural lights in the cash wrap area.


The space is further organized by freestanding custom vitrines, crafted of Ozark walnut and glass, which provide integral display and storage and serve as a counterpoint to the curved ceiling and rear wall. The hardwood floor is accented by inlaid stone at the entry and broadloom carpeted islands that mark areas for reading and children’s activities. The use of local materials and craftsmanship expresses the store’s kinship with the museum and the unique sensibilities of American art.


Additional Credit
Cabinetry: UDI, Inc.
Engineer - MEP: HP Engineering Inc.
General Contractor: Milestone Construction Company, LLC
Lighting: Resource Design
Security: Ducibella Venter & Santore

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    The work of a local Arkansas basket maker, Leon Niehues, known for his sculpturally ribbed baskets made from young white oak trees from the Ozarks, provided the design inspiration for the museum store, located at the heart of the Moshe Safdie–designed museum (2011) in Bentonville, Arkansas. The 3,040-square-foot store presented several design challenges, including a west-facing glass storefront that caused significant heat gain and an array of concrete columns that interrupted the...

    Project details
    • Year 2014
    • Work finished in 2014
    • Status Completed works
    • Type Museums / Showrooms/Shops
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