School of art announces selection of architecture teams university of arkansas

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas Board of Trustees has approved the hiring of the architecture firms HGA, based in Minneapolis, and MAHG Architecture of Fort Smith to work with the U of A’s School of Art to develop the Windgate Art and Design District in the heart of south Fayetteville.

Both architecture firms have worked with the University of Arkansas on present and past projects. HGA led the award-winning renovation of the historic fieldhouse into the Jim and Joyce Faulkner Performing Arts Center on the Fayetteville campus. MAHG Architecture has worked on local projects including the Bud Walton Arena and the Basketball Performance Center, as well as on the Walton Arts Center.


In 2017, the School of Art, part of the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, received a $40 million gift from the Windgate Charitable Foundation to create the new art and design district that will serve students, faculty, artists, designers and the community.

The district will be developed close to campus on Martin Luther King Boulevard between Hill and Government avenues, and is an expansion near the school’s sculpture complex. The district will feature several new buildings for art and design classrooms, labs, studios and public gallery space.

In recommending the two firms, Hulen and hiring committee members said that the architectural teams are dedicated to discovering the needs of the school and community to customize the design, a critical first step to create a successful art and design educational district.

“The space programming and planning for the Windgate Arts and Design District will be informed by a deep understanding of each of the unique arts disciplines, their methods, materials, and resulting art forms,” said Jamie Milne Rojek, HGA vice president. “From the quality of light, to the physical requirements of equipment, the facility will be a functional, safe, studio environment and showcase for the arts.”

“We are tremendously excited about this project, and believe that our team’s experience, expertise and collaborative approach will enable us to support the university’s vision of a vibrant art and design district,” said Nancy Blankfard, HGA design principal. “We anticipate the initial design ideas to be developed by the end of fall 2018.”

HGA, MAHG Architecture, Clark Construction and the U of A are partnering in a workshop to establish goals and communication objectives for the project. Through the coming months, the design team will meet with School of Art faculty and staff to verify space requirements, functional needs and study design opportunities specific to the site.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.