University of Arkansas Collaborative brings education, community engagement & industry partnership under one roof
The University of Arkansas Collaborative works with educators and staff to provide resources, programming and professional development for online and on-campus students. The Collaborative also partners with industry, business leaders, government agencies, and other institutions to expand learning opportunities and help individuals advance their careers. The new Bentonville campus expands the University’s reach and physical presence in the region.
Our design approach merges client and context into a cohesive concept. The consideration of people, places and concept is our guide for creating meaningful work.
In addition to the multiple users – students, faculty and staff, industry professionals, community partners – served by the Collaborative, there are multiple facets from the University represented at the new Bentonville location. The Sam Walton College of Business, College of Engineering, School of Law, and Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences are a few of the academic programs served by the Bentonville Collaborative. The proximity of the Bentonville campus to some of the region’s largest companies and premier museums opens the door for new levels of industry partnership and community engagement.
The site is situated in a cultural and community epicenter for the region. The campus borders the Razorback Regional Greenway and sits on the edge of Bentonville’s Market District.
When finished, the Bentonville Collaborative will consist of four separate spaces, each programmed to serve a specific core function for students, faculty and community partners. Flexibility is a top priority for the University and each space has been designed with adaptability in mind as needs at this location change over time.
Faced with the challenge of creating a common design language between multiple spaces, the concept centers around a kit of parts that could be utilized in each. Most elements of the kit are conceptualized as mobile walls and storage features that are functional and easily identifiable zone to zone. Rolling walls, storage and private booths allow the easy creation of smaller and larger space, and for different environments to existing within a singular space.
The Learning Lab is the primary workspace for students and University staff. The core of the Learning Lab is the combined lounge and collaboration zone that is large enough to host events and conferences. A conference room, video and podcast studio, private huddle space, flexible classroom and data lab form the rest of the main level. The second floor is the main hub for faculty and staff, with private offices and an additional open work area.
The Incubator is a collaboration and community zone. The tall, light-filled space easily flexes from focused work, to marketing workshops, community presentations and events. White boards and TVs are fixed to walls made of prefinished maple plywood, attached to raw steel frames with casters, all fabricated by our shop. These walls, along with rolling shelves and lockers, act as movable partitions. The second level is an open work area that can serve focused collaboration, or as an additional workspace during larger meetings and events on the main level.