Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

BENTONVILLE – In Arkansas, a contemporary art museum is a stunning series of wood-and-glass pavilions nestled around two ponds.

‘The design aims to protect the natural beauty of the site while emphasizing a strong sense of place,’ says Israeli-Canadian architect Moshe Safdie, who designed the museum and cultural centre using largely locally-sourced materials.  

Crystal Bridges' concept is comprised of a number of independent structures that circle two central ponds; at opposite ends are two ‘bridge’ buildings featuring suspended cables and wood. One contains galleries, while the other holds the reception, café and hospitality facilities.

All structures have large glass windows and walls, allowing for an open exchange of light while offering views of the landscape. In the centre of the plot is the great hall which holds a multipurpose public space.

The museum was founded by Alice Walton, daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton, and opened last year. Entry is free.


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