Virginia San Fratello is tonight’s June Freeman Lecture Series presenter

Related imageArchitecture and Design Network (ADN) continues its 2019/2020 June Freeman lecture series with a lecture entitled “Borderwall as Architecure” with Virginia San Fratello, founding partner of Real San Fratello.

The program will begin at 6pm tonight (January 14) following a 5:30pm reception at the Windgate Center for Art+Design on the UA Little Rock campus.

San Fratello draws, builds, 3D prints, teaches, and writes about architecture and interior design as a cultural endeavor deeply influenced by craft traditions and contemporary technologies.  She is a founding partner in the Oakland based make-tank Emerging Objects. Wired magazine writes of their innovations, “while others busy themselves trying to prove that it’s possible to 3-D print a house, Rael and San Fratello are occupied with trying to design one people would actually want to live in”.

She also speculates about the social agency of design, particularly along the borderlands between the USA and Mexico, in her studio RAEL SAN FRATELLO. You can see her drawings, models, and objects in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Virginia San Fratello will discuss the long-term project, Borderwall as Architecture, an important re-examination of what the 700 miles of physical barrier that divides the United States of America from the United Mexican States is, and could be. It is both a protest against the wall and a projection about its future. She will present a series of propositions suggesting that the nearly seven hundred miles of wall is an opportunity for cultural and social development along the border that encourages its conceptual and physical dismantling, the lecture will take the audience on a journey along a wall that cuts through a “third nation” — the Divided States of America.

On the way the transformative effects of the wall on people, animals, and the natural and built landscape are exposed and interrogated through the story of people who, on both sides of the border, transform the wall, challenging its existence in remarkably creative ways. Coupled with these real-life accounts are counterproposals for the wall, created by Virginia’s studio, that reimagine, hyperbolize, or question the wall and its construction, cost, performance, and meaning. Virginia proposes that despite the intended use of the wall, which is to keep people out and away, the wall is instead an attractor, engaging both sides in a common dialogue.

ADN lectures are free and open to the public. No reservations are required.  Thank you to our presenting sponsor Malmstrom White and our title sponsors Terracon and Evo Business Environments. Supporters of ADN include the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design, the University of Arkansas Little Rock Windgate Center of Art + Design, the Central Section of the Arkansas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, the Arkansas Art Center and friends in the community.  For additional information contact

Arkansas Heritage Month – The architecture of AIA/ALA award winning CALS libraries by Polk Stanley Wilcox

To encourage excellence in the architectural design and planning of libraries, the AIA and the American Library Association/Library Administration and Management Association created this award to distinguish accomplishments in library architecture.  In 2011 and again in 2015, Polk Stanley Wilcox won the award for projects designed for the Central Arkansas Library System.

AIA ALA PSW ASIThe 2011 award went to for work on the Arkansas Studies Institute.  This actually combines three buildings of three different centuries and construction types into one architectural timeline, evoking imagery of pages of an opening book.

The Arkansas Studies Institute is a repository for 10 million historic documents and the papers of seven Arkansas Governors, including President Bill Clinton. Located in a thriving entertainment district comprised of rejuvenated warehouses near the Arkansas River, the design combines significant, but neglected buildings from the 1880’s and 1910’s with a new technologically expressive archive addition. This creates a pedestrian focused, iconic gateway to the public library campus – and the public face of Arkansas history.

The design philosophy is based literally on the book – a physical container of information, with pages flowing into a site-sensitive narrative of the building’s function. Taking cues from the medium for which the Institute was created, the entrance acts as an abstract book cover, pulled away from the building as a double wall, defusing western sunlight and heat in the atrium beyond.

Public Spaces – galleries, a café, museum, and meeting rooms – enliven streetscape storefronts, while the great library research hall encompasses the entire second floor of the 1914 warehouse building. A thin atrium pulls the new structure away to protect the old, stretching the building’s length and flooding all levels with light – a key sustainable strategy. 100 historic images in glass handrails signify that architecture can and should actively engage in storytelling. Suspended bridges span the gap between new and old, open and secure, today and yesterday.

The Arkansas Studies Institute weaves history, research, pedestrians, and a restored streetscape together, healing a gaping wound in the urban fabric, while expanding environmental stewardship into the public realm and serving as a beacon of knowledge.

AIA ALA PSW HRCCLCIn 2015, the award went to PSW for their work on the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library and Learning Center.

Based on experiential learning where hands-on education teaches life skills needed to become responsible adults, a new Children’s Library and Learning Center boosts hopes for a neglected neighborhood, serves as an exemplary tale of urban renewal, and acts as a beacon of hope for an entire city.

This “community embedded, supportive learning center” offers not only books, but also a performance space, teaching kitchen, greenhouse, vegetable garden, and an arboretum. It is the state’s first library holistically imagined as a children’s education destination. The Library Director’s challenge was to create a “playground without equipment” where nature and imagination create grand adventures on an abandoned six acre site in the heart of the capital city. A charrette with youth uncovered a surprising and heartbreaking result: their top desire wasn’t for the latest video game technologies… it was food security. They wanted to learn how to feed themselves. Children also desired a place that was uplifting, inspirational and full of natural light, while in contrast feeling safe, secure, and sheltered. They wanted a place that “lifted expectations”.

An interstate highway—the railroad tracks of our generation—split Little Rock 40 years ago and destroyed a unified city grid, contributing to racial and socioeconomic divisions that separated citizens physically and emotionally. The site’s border condition became a national symbol for gang violence when featured in a 1990’s HBO documentary. Its opposite side, however, continued to be the city’s version of New York City’s Central Park—the place to live, work, and play. The design team’s overarching idea was centered on three moves: bridge the gap by stretching the park across the highway, create a library that is “the place to be” for all children, and develop civic pride in an underserved neighborhood, helping to mend partitions that have plagued the city for so long.

Landscape ecology and urban connectivity themes provide experiential education. Children see natural vegetation representing the state’s varied ecological regions from the Ozark Highlands to the Mississippi Delta. Two bus lines within a quarter mile assure access from distances, while the hundreds of children living within a half mile can walk or bike. An instructional greenhouse, gardens, and teaching kitchen allow children to cultivate, harvest, prepare meals, and sell produce in a planned farmer’s market. A full time ‘Environmental Educator’ oversees programs, teaching proper use of water, energy, and resources, and how we keep healthy through decisions made within the built environment. The lobby’s smart monitors can display real time water and energy consumption. Mechanical and structural systems are purposefully exposed so operations and construction methods can be discussed.

While this Library exceeded expectations by achieving LEED Gold, the true measure of success beyond points is the neighborhood’s feel, which shifted from dangerous to full of life and pride. The library is a safe zone and home to a sustainable-minded community.

Arkansas Heritage Month – The Architecture of Little Rock Central High School

centralentranceArchitecture is often overlooked when considering the arts, but it is definitely an art form.

Built in 1927 as Little Rock Senior High School, Central was named “America’s Most Beautiful High School” by the American Institute of Architects. The New York Times called it the most expensive high school built at the time.

Designed as a mix of Art Deco and Collegiate Gothic architectural styles, the building is two city blocks long and includes 150,000 square feet of floor space. The project involved most of Little Rock’s leading architects who were still practicing at the time: John Parks Almand, George H. Wittenberg and Lawson L. Delony, Eugene John Stern, and George R. Mann.  Over the years, different architects would take credit for various facets of the building.  Given the size of the project, there was plenty of work for each architect to do.

More than 36 million pounds of concrete and 370 tons of steel went into the building’s construction. The building contained 150,000 square feet of floor space, upon its completion. It cost $1.5 million to construct in 1927. The school received extensive publicity upon its opening. An article in the Arkansas Gazette said, “we have hundreds of journalists in our fair city for the dedication” of the new high school.

At its construction, the auditorium seated 2,000 people between a main level and a balcony.  The stage was sixty feet deep and 160 feet long so that it could be used gymnasium. From 1927 until the opening of Robinson Auditorium in 1940, the auditorium would be Little Rock’s main site for hosting performances by musical and theatrical groups.

Subsequent additions would include a separate gymnasium, a library, and a football stadium. In 1953 the school’s name was changed to Little Rock Central High School, in anticipation of construction of a new high school for students, Hall High School.

In 1977, the school was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and it was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1982. These were in recognition of desegregation events which took place in the school in 1957.

In 1998, President William Jefferson Clinton signed legislation designating the school and visitor center across the street as a National Historic Site to “preserve, protect, and interpret for the benefit, education, and inspiration of present and future generations…its role in the integration of public schools and the development of the Civil Rights movement in the United States.”

Sandwich in History at Waldo E. Tiller House today at noon

ahpp WaldoTillerHouseThe Arkansas Historic Preservation Program’s next “Sandwiching in History” tour will visit the Waldo E. Tiller House at 35 Sherrill Road in Little Rock beginning at noon today, (March 4).

Completed in 1954, the Tiller House was designed by Little Rock architect Dietrich Neyland, who worked for the firm of Ginocchio, Cromwell & Associates. The home’s modern design was inspired by the work of Neyland’s mentor, internationally-known architect Richard Neutra. Waldo Tiller was president of the Tiller Tie & Lumber Company. He also served as president and later, executive secretary, of the Arkansas Forestry Association. The Tiller House was remodeled in 2007 to provide necessary updates while preserving the home’s unique, Mid-Century Modern character.

The “Sandwiching in History” tour series targets Pulaski County structures and sites. The noontime series includes a brief lecture and tour of the subject property. Participants are encouraged to bring their lunches with them. The American Institute of Architects offers one HSW continuing education learning unit credit for members who attend a “Sandwiching in History” tour.

The tour is free and open to the public. For information, call the AHPP at (501) 324-9880, write the agency at 323 Center St., Suite 1500, Little Rock, AR 72201, send an e-mail message to, or

The AHPP is the Department of Arkansas Heritage agency responsible for identifying, evaluating, registering and preserving the state’s cultural resources. Other agencies are the Arkansas Arts Council, the Delta Cultural Center in Helena, the Old State House Museum, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission and the Historic Arkansas Museum.

THE WITTENBERG HERITAGE focus of Architecture & Design Network discussion this evening at 6pm at Arkansas Arts Center

wittenberg-heritageIn 1919, young architects George Wittenberg and Lawson Delony co-founded the firm that would become, under the visionary leadership of George’s son Gordon, one of the largest, longest-lasting and most influential architectural firms in the state. During his thirty-year tenure (1952-1982) as head of Wittenberg Delony & Davidson Architects, the company had a significant role in the design of many city landmarks, winning more than thirty awards for its work. The Arkansas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects awarded its most prestigious prize, the Gold Medal, to Gordon Wittenberg in recognition of his many contributions to the profession. In view of his outstanding contributions to the field, he was elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, an honor accorded a select few.

This evening (February 23) the Architecture and Design Network will feature Gordon Wittenberg in a program entitled THE WITTENBERG HERITAGE.  It begins at 6pm at the Arkansas Arts Center with a reception at 5:30pm preceding it.

Wittenberg will be joined by his colleagues in reflection on the firm’s nearly one hundred year history, a heritage that shaped spaces and places throughout the state and beyond. THE WITTENBERG HERITAGE a group presentation, chaired by Gordon Ducksworth, AIA, Senior Associate/Project Architect, Wittenberg, Delony & Davidson Inc. Architects, Little Rock, AR. Like other Architecture and Design Network (ADN) lectures, THE WITTENBERG HERITAGE is free and open to the public. The Architecture and Design Network (ADN), a non-profit organization, is supported in part by the Arkansas Arts Center, the Central Arkansas Section of the Arkansas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, the University of Arkansas Fay Jones School of Architecture and friends in the community.

Sculpture at the River Market Show seeking artists; 2016 Monument Sculpture Competition winner will be placed at Central High

Sculpture at the River MarketThere is a very rare opportunity for an artist to have their work permanently displayed on the grounds of historic Central High School.  The recipient of the Sculpture at the River Market 2016 Monument Sculpture Commission Competition will have just that chance.  The installation will take place in 2017 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the integration of Central High School.

This will be a $60,000 to $80,000 Award.  Artists selected into the 2016 Sculpture at the River Market Show & Sale in Little Rock, Arkansas will be eligible for the Central High School Monument Commission Competition. Only 50 artists will be selected to participate in the Show and Sale.

The River Market Sculpture Show and Sale dates are April 22-24, 2016.
Click here for a SHOW application.     Deadline to submit an application to the show is January 14.
centralentranceThe site for this year’s contest will be a space where two sidewalks converge to start the curved ramp that will lead to the front doors of Central High School. The site is street level, so the sculpture can be seen from both sides of the street and will be a focal point as you start ascending to the porch and the front doors.
The design should not be restrained by the historical events that occurred at Central High School. The entry can convey some aspect of the events of 1957, but can represent many other feelings such as hope, togetherness, the importance of education, opportunity, or any other positive feeling that would impact students and visitors to this important landmark. It can be solemn or whimsical, or it can be figurative, abstract or interactive.

About Central High School:  In 1957, the nation watched the Little Rock Nine story unfold as nine black students attempted to enter the previously all-white school. With the help of television news, then in its infancy, the events commanded worldwide attention. Little Rock came to symbolize the federal government’s commitment to eliminating separate systems of education for blacks and whites. When Little Rock Central High School was built in 1927, the American Institute of Architects named Central High School, “The Most Beautiful High School in America”. The high school is still operating today and is the only functioning high school to be located within the boundary of a national historic site.

Click here for a drawing of the COMPETITION site and more information about the COMPETITION.

For Show information visit or email

15 Highlights of 2015 – Polk Stanley Wilcox wins AIA/ALA Library Building Award for CALS Children’s Library

Childrens Library 2For the final fifteen days of 2015, a look back at some of the cultural highlights of 2015.

Up first –

Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects and the Central Arkansas Library System were honored with Library Architecture’s highest and most prestigious achievement: A 2015 AIA/ALA Library Building Award. 

Of all libraries submitted, the 2015 AIA/ALA Library Building Awards honor only six separate projects. The Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library and Learning Center joins prestigious projects from as far away as Vancouver, Washington, Dartmouth, Mass., Norfolk, Virginia, San Antonio, Texas, and Des Moines, Iowa. The projects was honored at the National ALA Conference in San Francisco on June 25-30th.

To encourage excellence in the architectural design and planning of libraries, the National American Institute of Architects (AIA) in Washington DC and the American Library Association (ALA) created this award to distinguish accomplishments in library architecture. Biennially, representatives of each organization celebrate the finest examples of library design from around the world designed by American Architects.

READThe new Children’s Library and Learning Center is based on experiential learning, where children are educated through hands on activities that teach life skills needed to become responsible adults. Referred to as a “community-embedded, supportive learning center,” this library offers not only books, but also a performance space, a teaching kitchen, a greenhouse and vegetable garden, and an arboretum.

The award is given every two years.  It is the second time that Polk Stanley Wilcox has received the award for a CALS project.  In 2011 the firm won it for the Arkansas Studies Institute building.  Not only is it rare for a firm to receive this award, it is even more rare for the same firm to receive it twice for working with the same client.  These honors are a testament to the leadership at both Polk Stanley Wilcox and the Central Arkansas Library System.