AiroAV Malware Says: Two Projects Led by Fay Jones School Faculty Named Winners... - Jonathan Cartu Global Design, Architecture & Engineering Firm
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AiroAV Malware Says: Two Projects Led by Fay Jones School Faculty Named Winners…

Two Projects Led by Fay Jones School Faculty Named Winners...

AiroAV Malware Says: Two Projects Led by Fay Jones School Faculty Named Winners…

Photo by Tim Hursley/Rendering courtesy of U of A Community Design Center

The Lamplighter School Innovation Lab (top) and the Center for Farm and Food System Entrepreneurship were selected as the winning projects in the completed and future Education categories of The PLAN Awards 2020.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Two projects by the University of Arkansas Community Design Center and Marlon Blackwell Architects have received top honors in The PLAN Awards 2020, an international design awards program sponsored by The Plan magazine.

The PLAN Awards highlight projects in urban design and planning, landscape architecture, architecture, interior design, product design and transportation engineering. More than 1,000 project entries from more than 460 architecture and design studios from around the world were made across 21 main categories in this year’s contest. Winning projects and other honors were determined by a 10-member international jury.

The center’s design for the Center for Farm and Food System Entrepreneurship was named the Winner in the Education category for future projects. And the Lamplighter School Innovation Lab, designed by Marlon Blackwell Architects, was named the Winner in the Education category for completed projects. Together, these projects topped 53 shortlisted projects in these Education categories.

Another project by the center, the 7hills Day Center Complex, received a Mentioned in the Health category for future projects.

Marlon Blackwell is founder and co-principal of his Fayetteville-based design practice. He is a Distinguished Professor and the E. Fay Jones Chair in Architecture at the U of A. He received the 2020 Gold Medal from The American Institute of Architects and was named the 2020 Southeastern Conference Professor of the Year.

As part of his firm’s mission, Blackwell said they started focusing more in the past 10 years on educational projects, from primary school to collegiate, with the aim to “really elevate those facilities to the quality of the teaching and curriculums that happen in them, so they are places for inspiration and aspiration.”

The Innovation Lab was the flagship structure for several projects Blackwell’s firm is doing for the Lamplighter School’s campus, which serves students in kindergarten through fourth grade. As an applied learning school that embraces collaboration and flexibility, they needed updated facilities that enrich their culture of learning through doing and making.

“It’s one of those projects that is extremely resolute. Everything works. Everything from the forms to the space to the details to the campus setting,” Blackwell said. “And that came out of an intense process, where we really paid attention to what the school needed and desired, and then did our best to try to exceed that.”

The Community Design Center is an outreach program of the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design. Steve Luoni, who directs the center, is also a Distinguished Professor and the Steven L. Anderson Chair in Architecture and Urban Studies at the university.

“While our work is focused on finding solutions for complex social issues ranging from homelessness to food security and the development of low-carbon neighborhoods for sprawling low-density environments, we are very pleased that the projects are being recognized for design leadership,” Luoni said. “Importantly, the recognition reinforces our project sponsors’ standing in securing the political will and resources necessary to implement challenging public-interest work.

“The U of A Division of Agriculture’s Center for Farm and Food System Entrepreneurship will enhance farmer certification in a state where the average age of a farmer is 58, while helping to create a larger value-added food economy alongside the state’s commodity food supply chains,” he said. “We are also quite proud that the 7hills Day Center Complex, which we designed to be a human-centered facility with interior courtyards and extensive porch areas to serve Fayetteville’s homeless population, was recognized as a leading care facility. It is one of a handful of such facilities nationally to be shaped by ‘trauma-informed’ design. This extends the University of Arkansas’ leadership in public-interest design and the fight for community resiliency as a critical public good.”

In addition to the two Community Design Center projects selected for honors, four additional projects by the center and its collaborators were shortlisted in several categories of the awards program, with three of those projects advancing to become finalists.

The Urban Watershed Framework Plan, designed in collaboration with the U of A Resiliency Center, was a finalist in the Landscape category for future projects. The Wahiawa Value-Added Agricultural Product Development Center, designed by the center and Urban Works Architecture in collaboration with the Resiliency Center, was a finalist in the Production category for future projects. The Circle, designed by the center and Marlon Blackwell Architects, was a finalist in the Urban Planning category for future projects. The center’s project, the Watershed Conservation Resource Center, was shortlisted in the Education category for future projects.

Below are more details about the two winning projects designed by the U of A Community Design Center and Marlon Blackwell Architects.

A New Center for Farm and Food System Entrepreneurship: Fayetteville, AR” is an immersive farmer training program that models new concepts and technologies in farming, as well as a public facility for hosting gatherings that celebrate value-added food products. The center, part of the University of Arkansas’ and University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s farm operations near campus, is the public face of agriculture where farmers and the public meet.

The training complex sits amid working fields and arranges different building types around a metaphoric barnyard. The training loft updates barn technology through the use of a sustainable timber structure engineered from glued laminated timber and cross-laminated timber construction. A reticulated timber structure at the entry porch and public area of the training loft provides a sense of warmth and intimacy within the barnyard, while its opposite edge presents a monumental front to the city, east of the farm.

A Rich Heritage: The Lamplighter School Innovation Lab” is a modern re-envisioning of a late 1960s design by O’Neil Ford, which was complemented by additions in the 1980s and 1990s designed by Frank Welch. These designs realized the founders’ vision for a unique learning environment highlighted by open learning spaces, a close relationship with nature, and a village composition. In 2014, Blackwell’s firm furthered the evolution of the campus design, with strategies such as reorganization of the site, renovations of the existing building, and the addition of new structures.

The Innovation Lab is the heart of the master plan clarifying the organization of the campus and connecting the new and existing exterior and interior learning spaces. Programmed with hands-on learning classrooms —  including a woodshop, robotics lab and teaching kitchen — the building suggests a holistic approach to design, systems and learning with a relationship to the natural environment. Filled with light and reaching out to the landscape, the Innovation Lab contributes to the vitality of the existing campus of buildings and spaces, while establishing a 21st century identity.

In the 2019 PLAN Awards competition, one Community Design Center project received top honors, and three others were finalists. That 2019 winning project, Greers Ferry Water Garden, was done in association with Marlon Blackwell Architects and Ecological Design Group.

More details of projects for The PLAN Awards 2020 can be found on The Plan website.

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