Plan Award International Finalists Include Two U of A Community Design Center Projects


Image courtesy of U of A Community Design Center

“A Social Center for the Little Rock Air Force Base: The Shed” is one of two U of A Community Design Center projects finalists for the 2022 Plan Award, an international design awards program.

Two projects from the U of A Community Design Center are finalists for the 2022 Plan Award, an international design awards program recognizing excellence in architecture, interior design and urban planning.

“Cultural Mappings of Cherokee Village, Arkansas” is a project sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the City of Cherokee Village. It is a finalist in the Special Projects category, which includes exhibitions. The cultural mappings support an ongoing planning project for the 23 square mile village.

“A Social Center for the Little Rock Air Force Base: The Shed” is a hardwood project sponsored by the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities as part of an educational consortium with Clemson University and the University of ‘Oregon. “The Shed” is a finalist in the Mixed-Use Future category.

The design of both projects was led by the U of A Community Design Center, an outreach center of the university’s Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design. Steve Luoni, Distinguished Professor and Steven L. Anderson Chair in Architecture and Urban Studies, is the director of the center.

“We are particularly pleased to see these two projects of public interest finalists of the international Plan Award program. Through design, both projects advance important political concepts,” Luoni said. “‘The Shed’ demonstrates the value of greater community-based planning on military bases and the role of mass timber in designing biophilic buildings for mental health and well-being. The Cultural Mapping Project of the Cherokee village was a new type of project for us.The mappings allowed the project team and client to discover the important cultural and heritage influences behind a mid-century modern planned community – influences that would otherwise have been lost. Streamlining cultural mapping into our market-driven urban design and planning processes would revolutionize how we do or don’t plan places.”

“Cultural Mappings of Cherokee Village, Arkansas” supports a separate master plan commissioned by Cherokee Village, a 23-square-mile rural planned community developed in 1955 in north-central Arkansas. The research describes the interrelated landscapes, histories, and social geographies of the Arkansas Ozarks surrounding one of America’s first retirement-based planned recreational communities. The series of 54 digital drawings integrates maps, folk documents, archival sources and photographs with new drawings, depicting the synchronic cultural frameworks that shaped Cherokee Village.

Content development was a collaborative inquiry between residents, community organizations, artists, folklorists, historians, architects, landscape architects and urban designers. The NEA’s “Our City” funding gave the project team a special opportunity to explore memory and surrounding heritage through discursiveness, conversation and debate at the heart of cultural mapping and its forms of expression. participatory survey.

“The Shed” was designed as part of an effort led by Clemson University and the Community Design Center in partnership with Little Rock Air Force Base. The Social Center acts as a social anchor or third location for Little Rock Air Force Base, home base of the C-130 Hercules and primary training base for all international C-130 pilots and crews. The term “third place”, coined by sociologist Ray Oldenburg, refers to places that are neither work nor home. “The Shed” supports the mission readiness of military personnel by promoting social connections and mental well-being.

The “mat building” accommodates support spaces for various programs and scales. A central public hall includes a cafe, bar, art gallery, courtyard and recreation areas that serve as informal filters to large formal meeting areas and large logistics spaces, including a recreational auto repair shop at 10 bays, lumber and art stores and an outdoor recreational equipment center. The installation is primarily an open-plan arrangement of several circulation loops to promote good orientation and access to natural light.

The mixed-use complex is also responsible for showcasing mass timber construction technology and exploring community planning approaches that facilitate greater sociability on military bases. Common facilities at military bases provide essential respite, camaraderie and catering functions needed by soldiers, families and veterans engaged in stressful and often traumatic service to their country.

Now in its eighth year, The Plan Award program recognizes excellence in architecture, interior design and urban planning across 20 categories. The categories are separated into completed and future projects. The winners are selected by an international jury made up of personalities from the architecture, design, real estate and academic fields.

The winning projects of the annual awards program will be featured on The Plan’s digital platforms and dedicated coverage. This year’s winners will be announced on November 17.

Two other Community Design Center projects have recently been recognized in other international design award programs.

“A Rural Timberlands Neighborhood” won a 2022 Green Good Design Award, sponsored by the European Center for Architecture, Art, and Urban Studies and the Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design. The neighborhood, developed by Hopson Real Estate Holdings, features a cross-sectional resilient design that addresses wildfire risk, housing affordability, and ecosystem regeneration.

“Markham Square Housing District” received a Special Mention in the Architizer A+ Awards for the Unbuilt—Multi-Unit Housing category. The project was developed in collaboration with the town of Conway and local stakeholders, and it was sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts.

The A+Awards are an international design awards program in architecture, urban planning, landscape architecture and interior design.


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