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Walton Family Foundation Builds on Design Excellence Program’s Diversity, Breadth

January 10, 2022
Welcomes 31 Firms, New Selection Committee Member

BENTONVILLE, Ark., Jan. 10, 2022 – The Walton Family Foundation is building on the success of its Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program by welcoming 31 firms with deep and diverse experiences creating inclusive public spaces. Renowned architect Toshiko Mori will also join the program’s selection committee.

“The Design Excellence Program is unique not only in its focus on America’s Heartland but in its ability to shape and strengthen communities through public spaces,” said Jeremy Pate, senior program officer with the Walton Family Foundation’s Home Region Program. “The program’s continued success speaks to the diversity of its talent and its commitment to engaging with those served by its projects.”

Media Contact
Kathryn Heller

The foundation established the Design Excellence Program in 2015 to address potential planning challenges associated with Northwest Arkansas’s rapid growth and create welcoming public spaces that foster meaningful, shared experiences. Since then, it has supported 15 projects across the region’s five largest cities, including Thaden School, a 2021 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Education Facility Design Award and 2020 AIA Arkansas Design Award recipient; TheatreSquared, 2020 American Architecture Awardee; and Railyard Park, an urban space that has received acclaim from Arch Daily, Design Boom, Dezeen and Metropolis.

As a new selection committee member, Toshiko Mori will help conduct searches for designers. She is the founding principal of Toshiko Mori Architect PLLC and Robert P. Hubbard Professor at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. She is a member of the Academy of Arts and Letters; fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; and recipient of the Isamu Noguchi Award, Louis Auchincloss Prize, ACSA Tau Sigma Delta National Honor Society Gold Medal and Architectural Record’s Women in Design Leader Award.

“I am honored to be appointed to the selection committee of Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program of Walton Family Foundation,” said Toshiko Mori. “The focus on promoting design excellence in Benton and Washington counties is an important initiative to create resilient, inclusive and vibrant communities.” The following firms will participate in the program:

  • Actual Architecture Company: Omaha, Nebraska
  • Adjaye Associates: New York
  • AMR Architects: Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Andropogon Associates, Ltd: Philadelphia
  • Architecture Research Office: New York
  • A Complete Unknown: Washington, D.C.
  • BASE Landscape Architecture Inc.: San Francisco, California
  • BNIM: Kansas City, Missouri
  • Brininstool + Lynch: Chicago, Illinois
  • DAVID RUBIN Land Collective: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • EVOKE Studio Architecture: Durham, North Carolina
  • Interboro Partners: Brooklyn, New York
  • Jennings + Santa-Rita Architects, PLLC: Fayetteville, Arkansas
  • Jimmie Tucker Architect: Memphis, Tennessee
  • John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects: Los Angeles, California
  • Kennedy & Violich Architecture: Boston, Massachusetts
  • Koning Eizenberg Architecture, Inc: Santa Monica, California
  • Lake | Flato Architects: San Antonio, Texas
  • Leers Weinzapfel Associates: Boston, Massachusetts
  • LEVENBETTS: New York
  • LEVER Architecture: Portland, Oregon
  • Marble Fairbanks: New York
  • Michael Marshall Design: Washington, D.C.
  • Meyer Studio Land Architects: Berkeley, California
  • Murray Legge Architecture / Legge Lewis Legge: Austin, Texas
  • NADAAA: Boston, Massachusetts
  • Reed Hilderbrand: Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Sanders Pace Architecture: Knoxville, Tennessee
  • SILO: Fayetteville, Arkansas
  • Supermass Studio: New York
  • WRNS Studio: New York

The selected designers can remain in the program for up to five years, or until they are chosen for a project. With these additions, the Design Excellence Program now includes 68 architecture and landscape architecture firms.

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. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.