The addition and renovation to the Fay Jones School of Architecture in Vol Walker Hall at the University of Arkansas is a complex but resolute hybrid of a beautifully restored historical building (65,000 SF), and a modern addition and insertion (37,000 SF).
The restoration instills new life in Vol Walker Hall, the campus’s original library, built in 1935, and home to the School of Architecture since 1968. Stack spaces at the center of the building were removed to make room for the addition and allow for a proper west entry, restoring circulation through the building along the main axis of the University. New twin stairwells are located between the restoration and addition, connecting old and new and delivering daylight and activity into the center of the building.
Before the transformation, the central gallery did not function well due to poor light and acoustic quality. By correcting these problems through careful detailing, a central gathering space was created to unite old and new, focused around an oculus that provides daylight. Studio and critique spaces are provided throughout the addition, as well as a new 200 seat auditorium that descends to become visible from nearby sidewalks. The addition’s roof terrace features a green roof for instruction and an outdoor classroom.
Post-tensioned, architectural concrete construction and Indiana limestone rainscreen give the addition weight and substance that honor its historic counterpart. A fritted glass brise soleil screens the intense western sunlight, while the custom steel curtain wall is used to illustrate construction methods, detailing, and environmental strategies.