Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
Bentonville, Arkansas, 2011
Crystal Bridges is both a museum and a cultural center. The project is located in a ravine with a creek fed by Crystal Springs. Two suspended-cable-and-wood buildings span the ravine, creating two ponds. These structures serve as dams as well as bridges. The design aims to protect the natural beauty of the site while emphasizing a strong sense of place, and certain materials – wood, fieldstone and limestone aggregate – are drawn from the region. Building walls are architectural concrete with wood inlays, and the roofs are composed of a system of laminated wood beams. The liberal use of glass throughout the complex provides great transparency and enhances views of the site. The museum comprises a number of independent structures that form a series of pavilions over and alongside the ponds. The two bridge buildings are located at opposite ends of the north pond. Galleries are contained in the Gallery Bridge while reception, dining and hospitality facilities are housed in the Entry Bridge. The great hall, a multipurpose public space, is surrounded on three sides by the south pond. Additional structures are nestled into the sloping terrain on both sides of the ravine and contain galleries, function rooms, classrooms, a library, curatorial spaces and administrative offices. In contrast to the convex roof forms of the bridges, the concave roof forms of these structures visually retain the steep slopes.
Project Type: Museum
Client: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art