MAIN x MDRN
Merit Award 2018
The urban core of Bentonville, Arkansas is expanding and the MAIN x MDRN project is pushing to evolve the traditional downtown rules into a dynamic story of proportion and rhythm while simultaneously creating identity and reflection for the digital design practice it houses. The bold masonry forms set a precedent for the forthcoming urban edge along Main Street while using a modern palette to transform preconceived ideas of traditional form-based architectural design standard
This new four story building is the modern stamp of prosperous longevity for a small local business as they have officially planted their roots. The building form separates, like the lens of a camera, to embody another aperture in the client’s tool belt as the building now becomes a reflection of their daily process. These two crisp brick masses are connected by an expansive glass volume that creates entries, street connections, balconies, and views of the historic downtown. Clean geometries along the facade reinforce the shutter-like qualities of the building while also expressing the structural elements as a reflection of the system that supports them.
Balconies are carefully carved from the simple and taut forms of the building. Corners are cut away to reveal expressive cantilevers and large steel spans which cover public exterior spaces. Secondary balcony openings are directly proportionate to adjacent windows to continue the façade rhythms and alignments. These alignments and penetrations are accented by recessed steel lintels and capped with a thin steel cornice, a modern play on traditional architectural ordering and ornamentation.
The modern yet raw interiors allow the rigid steel structure to stand proud over flexible and open spaces while cast in place concrete walls and countertop provide texture and character to the space. Wood screens are implemented to provide privacy and warmth. Several wood components, including the monumental stair, are fabricated from a 30’ Mulberry tree that once grew proudly on the small downtown lot.
The interior spaces, like the critical parts of a camera, work together for the owner’s creative business, stitching edit bays, conference rooms, and open work lounges. Multiple spaces are specifically designed to reflect the tendencies of the inhabitants and the façade of the building shifts and opens to reveal this interior/exterior relationship.
MAIN x MDRN is a rejuvenated model of city building, setting a standard for urban development that encompasses specific work space with speculative office options all crafted in a timeless palette and with classic form-making.