Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is gearing up for a significant expansion that is expected to increase its size by 50 percent.
Adding approximately 100,000-square feet to an existing 200,000-square-foot facility, the expansion is designed to add more space for the museum’s art collection and to increase the number of visitors who can be hosted. Crystal Bridges is aiming to boost its exhibitions, educational and outreach initiatives and community events as a result of the expansion.
Safdie Architects will be helming the project, which will increase gallery space by 65 percent and add two new galleries. A new bridge will connect the two galleries, which could add space for artwork. The project will add to exist space for temporary exhibitions, as well as add new space for community displays and educational spaces.
There will also be a dedicated floor for community gathering areas, art studios, maker spaces and other “flexible facilities,” as part of the expansion. There will also be a circular event plaza for community programming and performances.
“It’s wonderful to see how our community, our region, and travelers to Bentonville from across the nation and around the world have embraced Crystal Bridges, and enjoyed the experience of being surrounded by art, nestled in nature, and immersed in Moshe Safdie’s architecture,” Crystal Bridges founder and board chair Alice Walton said in a statement. “With the number of visitors we welcome annually, it’s timely to enlarge our building and make sure more people can access these offerings. Having Safdie Architects expand on its original Crystal Bridges design with this new addition will create a unified experience for enjoying art, nature, and architecture.”
Crystal Bridges has made a significant impact in its first decade of operation. According to a museum release, more than five million individuals have visited Crystal Bridges since its opening in 2011.
“In its first 10 years, Crystal Bridges has catalyzed economic development in Northwest Arkansas by transforming the region into a destination for tourism and enhancing the quality of life for our residents,” Northwest Arkansas Council president and CEO Nelson Peacock said. “The museum’s expansion will open opportunities for artists and creatives and provide access to more world-class art in our community.”
Coen + Partners Landscape Architects will also develop outdoor spaces for Crystal Bridges and enhance the existing trail network around the museum and its art encounters.
Images courtesy of Safdie Architects