Civic
Featured Projects:
ARTSPACE WINDGATE CAMPUS
ARTSPACE WINDGATE CAMPUS

Overview from Artspace.org: Artspace Windgate Campus grew out of a strategic effort to benefit community led by the Windgate Foundation with key support from civic leaders, arts organizations, local artists, and creative businesses. Due to strong local momentum for the arts as a strategy for community development, Artspace worked with the Little Rock and North Little Rock communities beginning in 2018 to explore the feasibility of an Artspace live/work project. Located in the historic East End, and through its proximity to the Clinton Presidential Center, Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts and the future home of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, the Artspace Windgate Campus will be another anchor for Little Rock’s expanding arts and culture scene. The new construction development features a four-story building that provides 60 units of affordable live/work style housing designed for artists and their families, ten working artist-in-residence studios, ample event and gallery space including a large outdoor courtyard, and approximately 16,000 square feet of commercial space to provide space for local arts and cultural organizations. To designate Artspace Windgate Campus as a destination for the arts, public art components will include murals situated on the building’s exterior spaces and sculptural components in the outdoor courtyard along College Street. The exterior design reflects the level of artistic activity occurring within the multifamily affordable housing units and commercial studios; and a rooftop deck provides welcoming views of downtown. The units are one-, two-, and three-bedrooms, addressing the need for affordable housing for individual artists and their households. Artspace Windgate Campus will bridge geographic and cultural creative communities through a critical mass of residential units and commercial space that prioritizes a diverse creative workforce, and provides a sustainable home for a broad creative sector.

ARKANSAS RIVERWALK
ARKANSAS RIVERWALK

AMR Architects had the opportunity to participate in the 30-Crossing Envision design competition held by StudioMain in Little Rock, Arkansas. The competition was a study into the possibilities for the 20 acres of land left behind by the removal an interstate exit in the middle of downtown Little Rock. Designs were to consider connections to all the cultural, business, and residential areas adjacent to the site. They should also take care to focus on the larger connections to the Arkansas River Trail, downtown pedestrian infrastructure, adjacency to the Arkansas River, and how the space can improve the experience of traveling on Interstate-30 through Little Rock. The designs were to account for real-world urban issues such as traffic, parking, homelessness, trash, and multi-modal transportation. Entries were judged on the flexibility of the design to accommodate multiple uses including, but not limited to: a quiet restful space, an active sports space, an entertainment venue, and a place for all diverse citizens of the city. ARKANSAS RIVERWALK: In terms of dollars per-acre, mixed-use, downtown parcels bring in, on average, five times the property tax and sales tax revenue as conventional single-use commercial establishments on the outskirts of town. Downtowns are highly efficient generators of tax revenue, and the Arkansas Riverwalk addresses the vital need to develop the “Envision” land into mixed use properties that generate substantial tax revenue for the city. The Arkansas Riverwalk pulls the vitality of the river into the center of the district via a canal lined with dynamic shops, restaurants, and a mix of affordable and market-rate housing, and senior living solutions. This approach demonstrates the ability to incorporate both a public amenity and tourism draw with revenue generating development to create a dense, exciting, and iconic city center. The existing expanse of park space in the downtown is already an underutilized feature that could benefit from the increased revenue to enhance and maintain its beauty. This existing park space does lack shaded space for fitness and fields for soccer and other recreation; however, and the underpass provides this function for those looking for respite from the heat.

ASC ARTSx3
ASC ARTSx3

ASC ARTSx3 is the culmination of efforts by The Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas to expand community and art space in downtown Pine Bluff. By acquiring two buildings next door, they were able to expand their program three-fold (hence the "x3"), to provide additional services and cater to more art disciplines. When the Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas (ASC) first looked at expanding next door, they looked at it through an ambitious lens of how to honor the past legacy of Downtown Pine Bluff, the history of the buildings, and the origin story of their own organization while still addressing and adapting to the current needs of their city, community, and patrons. Downtown Pine Bluff, Arkansas was once one of the three largest concentrations of African-American owned businesses in the entire United States. In its heyday, the ASC ARTSx3 was a firehouse, dairy creamery, and auto parts store. It was this synergy that the design team used as a primary focus in the overall design and concept of the project. Phase I of this project, the northern half of the building, was renovated to be the new home for ARTSpace on Main. This portion houses art galleries, multi-purpose spaces, costume storage and a multi-use shop for set building for the ASC Theater. The existing commercial storefronts were replaced with bi-fold garage doors similar to the original firehouse doors. On both the first and second floor, large garage doors divide each space to allow the building to use each space individually or all in unison for one large event. The series of glass garage doors also allows for the visual connection from Main Street all the way through the building to the ARTS Yard behind it, which can act independently or as an extension of the program for both the ARTSpace and the ART Works buildings. ART Works on Main, Phase 2 and the southern portion of the building, furthers ASC’s mission of community engagement, but in a different vehicle. This building was still an active auto parts shop when phase one, ARTSpace, began construction. The idea with ART Works was to create a multi-use flexible black box theater to complement ACS’s established more traditional theater. The building is connected both internally and externally to ARTSpace on Main allowing them to work together and reconfigure as needed. The owner also really wants to encourage artists in residency and new apartments in Downtown Pine Bluff, so there are five dwelling units and five leasable artist studios along with shared common area for residence, artists, and performers to bond, collaborate, and build community. The biggest achievement of the ASC ARTS x3 project is the success of taking two underutilized historic buildings, carving into them, weaving them together, and turning them into mixed-use spaces that allow downtown to have a 24/7 community engagement. This constitutes a fundamental shift in the feeling of community ownership, pride, and a sense of progress.

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