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New Projects and Architects Announced for Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program

November 16, 2016

BENTONVILLE, Ark., Nov. 16, 2016 – The Walton Family Foundation today announced three new projects for the Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program, which seeks to elevate the architectural quality of future public buildings and spaces in Benton and Washington counties.

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“The Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program gives us an opportunity to support the unique urban fabric in five of the largest cities in the region,” said Karen Minkel, Home Region Program director for the Walton Family Foundation. “Schools, nonprofits and municipalities will have access to talented designers who will help us reimagine and enhance our built environment.”

The three projects to be supported by the program in 2016 include:

  • A municipal campus in downtown Springdale that will include a new criminal justice facility and renovated administration building. The new campus will allow the City of Springdale to consolidate various municipal departments, provide better services to citizens and return several tracts of tax-generating, income-producing properties for the continued revitalization of its downtown;
  • A 5-acre park in downtown Siloam Springs’ Medical Springs Park that will serve as a beacon to visitors and residents alike. The grant to the City of Siloam Springs will fund the design of a splash pad, amphitheater, landscaped areas, open green spaces and a new farmers market venue; and
  • Thaden School in downtown Bentonville, which recently announced that award-winning architects Eskew+Dumez+Ripple of New Orleans and Marlon Blackwell Architects of Fayetteville, Arkansas will design its 30-acre campus master plan, school buildings and landscape.

This year, 16 firms were added to the inaugural pool of designers selected in 2015. The program currently includes more than 50 architecture and landscape architecture firms representing 15 states, the District of Columbia, Canada and Denmark.

The Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program provides financial support to entities such as school districts; county, state or local municipalities; and nonprofit organizations that intend to develop space for public purposes. Funds are earmarked for all phases of design work. It is inspired by a similar enterprise in Columbus, Indiana by the Cummins Foundation.

The inaugural projects announced in 2015 include a 51,500-square-foot performance arts space for TheatreSquared in downtown Fayetteville that was recently lauded by American Theatre Magazine and ArchDaily for its facility design; a 28,000-square-foot adaptive reuse project for the Rogers Historical Museum in downtown Rogers; and a new 44,000-square-foot facility and half-acre playground for the Helen R. Walton Children’s Enrichment Center in downtown Bentonville.

The 10 architecture and six landscape architecture firms that join the program in 2016 include:

  • Allied Works Architecture - New York, New York
  • Andropogon Associates - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Architecture Research Office - New York, New York
  • CARBO Landscape Architecture - Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Design Workshop, Inc. - Aspen, Colorado
  • Fougeron Architecture - San Francisco, California
  • Kevin Daly Architects - Santa Monica, California
  • Krueck + Sexton Architects - Chicago, Illinois
  • Gehl - Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Marble Fairbanks - New York, New York
  • MASS Design Group - Boston, Massachusetts
  • Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects - Charlottesville, Virginia
  • Reed Hilderbrand Landscape Architecture - Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Rogers Partners - New York, New York
  • Ross Barney Architects - Chicago, Illinois
  • W Architecture & Landscape Architecture - New York, New York

The program’s pool will reopen in 2018.

More information on the Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program and its guiding design principles can be found at

About the Home Region Program and the Walton Family Foundation
The Home Region Program invests in projects that measurably improve the quality of life by creating cultural, educational and economic opportunities throughout Northwest Arkansas and in the Arkansas and Mississippi Delta region. In 2015, the Walton Family Foundation contributed more than $35 million to its home region. To learn more, visit, and join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.