Get Social

Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program Adds 22 New Firms

January 5, 2021
Serves as Model for How Heartland Communities Can Create Inclusive Public Spaces

BENTONVILLE, Ark., Jan. 5, 2021 – Twenty two firms have been selected to join or remain in the Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program, bringing the program’s current total to nearly 50 architecture and landscape architecture firms from 14 states, Canada and Denmark.

Media Contact
Kathryn Heller

The Walton Family Foundation established the program in 2015 to help the region address its growth, preserve its green spaces and promote the highest level of design in the development of its public buildings and spaces. It selects design professionals and projects based on four key principles: a commitment to strengthening public life; elevating standards of sustainability and resilience; celebrating local cultures and place; and building regional capacity. The program now supports 15 projects across the region’s five largest downtowns, including accessory dwelling units; educational facilities; arts and cultural amenities; parks; a municipal campus; pedestrian network; and playscapes.

Today, the program welcomed the following firms:

  • Charles Rose Architects: Somerville, Massachussets
  • Dake Wells Architecture: Kansas City and Springfield, Missouri
  • DEMX Architecture: Fayetteville, Arkansas
  • DIGSAU: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Hufft: Kansas City, Missouri and Bentonville, Arkansas
  • Ibanez Shaw Architecture: Fort Worth, Texas
  • LA DALLMAN: Boston, Massachusetts and Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Michael Maltzan Architecture: Los Angeles, California
  • Mithun: Seattle, Washington
  • Olson Kundig: Seattle, Washington
  • OJT: New Orleans, Louisiana
  • OSD Outside: New York, New York
  • SCAPE Landscape Architecture: New York, New York
  • Snow Kreilich Architects: Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Studio Joseph: New York, New York
  • Talley Associates, Inc.: Dallas, Texas
  • Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architecture: New York, New York
  • Wheeler Kearns Architects: Chicago, Illinois

The program offered the below firms additional five-year terms:

  • Anmahian Winton Architects: Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Marlon Blackwell Architects: Fayetteville, Arkansas
  • Modus Studio: Fayetteville, Arkansas
  • Stoss Landscape Urbanism: Boston, Massachusetts

Thirty three others have completed their terms.

In 2020, the foundation partnered with Gehl to determine the program’s impact. The report showed the program is helping balance authenticity with world-class design; creating places for community connection; expanding access to arts and culture; exhibiting the highest standards of sustainable design; elevating the region’s profile; and revitalizing local economies. According to the foundation, participants have also been able to leverage designs to raise more than $100 million in public and private funds for construction. The full assessment is now available for public use on the foundation’s website to help other Heartland communities create inclusive and engaging public spaces.

About the Walton Family Foundation The Walton Family Foundation is, at its core, a family-led foundation. Three generations of the descendants of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton, and their spouses, work together to lead the foundation and create access to opportunity for people and communities. We work in three areas: improving K-12 education, protecting rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and investing in our home region of Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta. In 2019, the foundation awarded more than $525 million in grants in support of these initiatives. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.