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Willard J. Walker Hall, Walton College of Business University of Arkansas Architect: Machado and Silvetti Associates Location: Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA Completion: 2007 GFA: 7,200 m2 Photography: Timothy Hursley & Machado and Silvetti Associates

Willard J. Walker Hall is designed to accommodate both recent and future growth anticipated at the Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. The building showcases state-of-the-art teaching classrooms and student learning spaces, teaming rooms, spaces for industry partnering and a trading room. Walker Hall takes advantage of its hillside location to project a contemporary image visible from downtown Fayetteville. It presents itself as a solid mass with a series of protruding glass boxes that express key interior spaces. One of the solid mass’ advantages is that it shows respect to the seriousness of academy. The other is that it helps keeping the unification of the whole campus. Inside, four architectural staircases connecting the five floors lead one through a succession of double-height spaces that are nodes for the primary programmatic elements of the building itself. Red, ochre and grey stained concrete floors visually define a hierarchy of plazas, avenues and streets. The interior design takes a focus on the bright colors. When the visitors enter the café hall, the red palette contracts the exterior grey colour strongly. This romantic colour seems not so match the serious academic atmosphere at first sight. However, people could feel comfortable and joyful because the colour is so much inviting. It would give people passion.

East-west section

The vertical organisation of the programme promotes connections between undergraduates, graduate students, and the various research centres. The circulation issue has been considered carefully. The largest of these doubleheight volumes is the forum, which links together Shollmier Plaza, café seating areas, a 150-seat auditorium and the trading centre. Other double-height spaces are adjacent to undergraduate classrooms, research centre meeting rooms and a graduate reading resource room. Walker Hall, along with the adjacent building of Centre for Academic Excellence, frames a new academic quadrangle. The strong massing, materials and landscape tie together the previously undefined campus precinct.

1. West façade detail 2. East façade, as viewed from downtown Fayetteville 3. West entrance detail

Awards: AIA Arkansas Chapter, Institutional/Commercial Project Honour Award, 2009

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