University of Arkansas architecture school to host affordable housing initiative

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 490 views 

The University of Arkansas Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design In Fayetteville will launch an affordable housing program, supported by $250,000 from the Walton Family Foundation of Bentonville.

Housing Northwest Arkansas will consist of a design studio, regional symposium and a design competition, all to take place in the spring semester.

The resulting housing will be available to both residents and newcomers at all levels of income, according to the UA.

“The combination of events, the design studio, the symposium and the competition, are designed to be of maximum public impact and value,” Peter MacKeith, dean of the Fay Jones School, said in a press release. “The Fay Jones School is very pleased to partner with the Walton Family Foundation in this effort, as it opens new territories of collaborative design research and creative practice for us, and reinforces our design emphasis on issues of imperative value for the region, state and nation.”

According to the UA, “All three elements will explore the synergy of inclusive and attainable housing with sustainable urban development. The project will examine housing as a community-informed design that provides the best scenario for individual residents and the broader community.”

The design studio will focus on housing design research and design prototypes for the Northwest Arkansas region. Visiting practitioners Anne Fougeron of Fougeron Architecture in San Francisco, and Kent Macdonald of California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, will co-teach this studio with Carl Matthews, head of the UA Department of Interior Design, and Alison Turner, clinical assistant professor in architecture. Enrollment will include senior-level design students in the Fay Jones School.

The public regional symposium will be Feb. 4 at locations in Bentonville and Fayetteville and will include “an intense series of public presentations and moderated discussions by regional and national experts on housing policy, finances, design, development and construction. The symposium will provide participants with a comprehensive overview of issues, challenges and design examples in attainable and mixed-use housing,” according to the UA.

Fay Jones School faculty will serve as moderators. Additional details will be released in January, according to the school.

For the design contest, nationally and internationally recognized design professionals will be invited to submit designs for a mixed-use, attainable housing development, including live-work units, on a site in Bentonville, according to the UA.

Judges include Anne Fougeron, chair, Fay Jones School faculty members and others involved in the housing industry throughout the nation.

Stephenie Foster, an alumna of the Fay Jones School’s architecture program, helped prepare the Housing Northwest Arkansas proposal and will continue to work with the school as grant coordinator for the project, according to the UA.