Arkansas Arts Academy 7-12 Campus Expansion and Renovation
Reimagining a neighborhood school, Arkansas Arts Academy project unifies and modifies previous church structures in downtown Rogers. The additions reinforce the school’s mission of becoming a nationally recognized institution. Consideration for neighborhood context is expressed through formal gestures impacting the perception of the school’s scale.
Arkansas Arts Academy is an open enrollment charter school serving 7th-12th grade located in downtown Rogers, AR. This multi-faceted project included demolition, renovation, and new construction on a compact site- in a historic residential neighborhood.
The existing campus was originally a church comprised of 3 structures built in different eras. With varying aesthetics, the original church structures were constructed with traditional gable roof forms, red brick, and were physically separated on the site. For the new construction exterior, the intent was to create a physically unified campus. As a result, exterior materials at the base level of the buildings and the forms created for the new structure resemble the neighborhood context and the existing structures that remained on the site.
Because space on site was restricted, our site strategy was to utilize every square foot possible to create educational spaces. There are non-traditional classroom and collaboration spaces built within circulation axes as well as usage of exterior courtyards for assembly and learning spaces. The two existing buildings that remained on the site, with the addition of new structures, provided an opportunity for creating a courtyard on central axis in line with the public/ community spaces: the performing arts center and cafeteria. This courtyard serves as an extension of the cafeteria/ common space. It is playful in form, functions as an outdoor classroom, contains a school garden, and serves as event space.
The school’s unique art integrated curriculum combines different mediums of art with academic program. This fundamental foundation was manifested in the architecture through program adjacencies, flexible spaces, form, volume, and classroom organization. The spaces not only provide learning opportunities, but also stimulate the student’s artistic creativity.
Several display and collaborative areas are formed out of the circulation spines. These spaces break the preconceived notion of traditional double loaded corridors.
Integration of art with academic curriculum is indoctrinated. Top images: Culinary/demonstration kitchen and ceramic art studio with kilns. Bottom image: drawing and craft art classroom- utilizing the northern windows and views for inspiration.
The music suites have capability of recording directly to the recording studio for mixing. Each classroom's spatial volume and acoustical treatment was analyzed. Proper sound control measures had to be implemented to mitigate noise concerns into other classrooms.
Top images: Piano lab (left) and orchestra/ classical strings (right.) Bottom image: recording studio looks over guitar/strings classroom.
Top images: Bike/fitness room provides indoor space for biking and mechanic demonstration. The overhead door provides direct access for students to ride on nearby trails. Black box theater is flexible for different performance styles with its lighting, rigging, and audio systems.
Bottom image: The dance studio is set up as one large space that can be divided into smaller studios to instruct smaller, specific dance classes.