Little Rock Creative Corridor


Little Rock Creative Corridor

Awards Won

Citation Award 2013

Location

Little Rock, AR

Architect

University of Arkansas Community Design Center (UACDC) + Marlon Blackwell Architect (MBA)

Project Team

UACDC
Stephen Luoni, Assoc. AIA
Jeffrey Huber, AIA
Cory Amos, Assoc. AIA
Benjamin Curtin
Akihiro Moriya
Linda Komlos

MBA
Marlon Blackwell, FAIA
Meryati Blackwell, Assoc. AIA
Jonathan Boelkins, AIA
William Burks, Assoc. AIA
Stephen Reyenga, Assoc. AIA
Heather McArthur, Assoc. AIA

Project Overview

Creative Corridor altCatalyzed by the aggregation of cultural organizations scattered throughout the metropolitan area, this reclamation of a neglected historic Main Street proposes a land-use mix different from Main Street’s traditional retail base. The plan provides an affordable downtown living option presently unavailable in Little Rock combining residential, office, and culture and tourism. The latter includes instruction and production space for the symphony, ballet, arts center, visual artists, theater, and dance, as well as a culinary arts economy that triangulates restaurants, demonstration, and education. The challenge involves restructuring a four-block corridor segment conceived for workaday commercial throughput to now serve 24/7 urban lifestyles with a high level of livability. This Main Street retrofit preserves 891,000 square feet of existing space in 28 historical structures while stipulating mixed-use functions in 532,000 square feet among four new infill structures. An additional challenge involves creating compatibility between large infill buildings proposed by big corporate property holders using curtain wall technologies, and early-20th century structures fashioned from the expressive order of brick and stone. Form-based codes and historical guidelines are politically unfeasible in this ardent property rights culture. To ensure a coherent identity among different eras of development, design solutions rely on the urbanism of streetscapes—landscape architecture, ecological engineering, public space configurations, frontage systems and other townscaping elements.