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Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program

Elevating the quality of design in Northwest Arkansas

The Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program promotes the highest level of design in the development of future public buildings and spaces in Arkansas’ Benton and Washington counties. 

As part of the Home Region Program’s strategy to preserve a sense of place, the Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program will focus on parks and green spaces in 2017. 

Note: The 2017 application period for parks, green spaces and plazas has ended. Applications to join the pool of architects for the Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program will open in 2018. Please email design@wffmail.com to be notified when the application period opens.

About the Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program

Over the last 25 years, the population in Northwest Arkansas has more than doubled, creating opportunities and challenges in planning and design. The Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program seeks to preserve a sense of place by encouraging quality design of public spaces, while complementing the rich architectural history of the region’s urban fabric.

Through this program, the Walton Family Foundation provides financial support to entities such as school districts; county, state or local municipalities; and nonprofit organizations that intend to design and develop space for public purposes. 

The Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program was inspired by a similar enterprise in Columbus, Indiana by the Cummins Foundation. Since its launch in 2015, the Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program has developed a pool of more than 50 architecture and landscape architecture firms representing 15 states, the District of Columbia, Canada and Denmark. Projects selected to date are: 

  • TheatreSquared: a new 51,500-square-foot performance arts space in downtown Fayetteville 
  • Rogers Historical Museum: a 28,000-square-foot adaptive reuse building in downtown Rogers 
  • Helen Walton Children’s Enrichment Center: a new 35,000-square-foot facility and half-acre playground in downtown Bentonville 
  • City of Springdale: a municipal campus in downtown Springdale that will include a new criminal justice facility and renovated administration building
  • City of Siloam Springs: A 5-acre park in downtown Siloam Springs’ Medical Springs Park that includes the design of a splash pad, amphitheater, landscaped areas, open green spaces and a new farmers market venue
  • Thaden School: A 30-acre campus master plan, school buildings and landscape in downtown Bentonville