CLT Project is America’s First Large-Scale, Mass Timber Living Learning Setting

Boston, MA – November 12, 2019 – A design collaborative led by Leers Weinzapfel Associates (Boston), Modus Studio (Fayetteville, AR), Mackey Mitchell Architects (St. Louis), and OLIN (Philadelphia), announces the completion of Adohi Hall, a $79M, 202,027-square-foot, 708-bed facility at the University of Arkansas. Now in use, the pioneering project is the nation’s first large-scale mass timber residence hall and living learning setting. A bold demonstration of sustainability, the five-story hall also signifies potential economic development for the burgeoning timber industry in Arkansas.

Occupying a linear, sloping, 4-acre site at the base of Fayetteville’s McIlroy Hill on the southern end of campus, the project provides a new university gateway that marks the start of a larger living learning district. Bound on the north by 1960s residence halls, on the east by Stadium Drive, and on the west and south by a large arena and related athletic facilities, the hall is nestled within a generous protective buffer of trees and plantings.

An emphasis on nature resonates throughout the project. Connected by a ground-level passage, a serpentine band of student rooms define three distinctive courtyard spaces that create a dynamic environment for student collaboration and interactive learning in architecture, design, and the arts. The “front porch” in the northernmost building is the key entry point for the complex; the “cabin” at the ground-level, central passage’s midpoint is the main gathering space, comprising a community kitchen, lounges, a quiet hearth, and a rooftop terrace; and the “workshops” of the lower courtyard house a dynamic live/learn program of performance spaces, music and recording studios, and maker spaces that enhance the campuswide arts program.

Four-story residential floors are arranged above the communal spaces. The main stair and elevator for each open onto a series of double-height lounges and kitchen spaces, joining upper and lower floors and inviting community interaction. Each floor contains semi-suites for two students with private baths, and pods of six to eight double rooms with a shared bath and common room. Large study rooms with generous windows at the end of each wing create a series of “lanterns” along Stadium Drive.

The warmth of the project’s exposed structural wood ceilings is apparent in student rooms, study rooms, floor lounges, and ground floor common spaces, and wood columns bring the beauty of the material within reach for all. The “cabin” also includes a wood ceiling and trusses that span the full width of its lounge spaces. Exteriors feature a light metal jacket of zinc-toned panels with accents of textured copper-tone and white that creates a floating band of living space above the natural landscape below.

Integrated into the topography of its site, the new housing complex features a cascading series of outdoor spaces that provide students and visitors with a variety of opportunities to engage and gather. Sinuous pathways are intricately woven through existing stands of mature oak trees, providing much needed shade for the new residents to enjoy warmer months outdoors. Undulating landforms, local sandstone seating areas, and drifts of native planting recall the geological and ecological vernacular of the Ozark Plateau while simultaneously creating comfortable places for people. Stormwater infiltration is carefully integrated into the grading strategy, which captures runoff from both paved areas and buildings.    

The name Adohi (“a-doe-hee”) is a Cherokee word meaning “woods.” It honors tribe members who passed near the hall’s site while following the Trail of Tears (1837-1839). It also recognizes the enduring importance of wood and sustainable forestry to the region.

“In all our work, we look for the synergy between place, purpose, and means. These came together in an extraordinary way at Adohi Hall,” says Andrea P. Leers, FAIA, Principal, Leers Weinzapfel Associates. “We drew inspiration from the regional context of the Ozarks, creating a living/learning environment powerful enough to be a destination remote from the center of campus, and the wood-based construction system we developed forges a bond between setting, human comfort, and sustainability.”

“The completion of Adohi Hall signals the University of Arkansas’ commitment to an innovative, sustainably designed campus for its next generation of students and facilities,” says Peter MacKeith, Dean and Professor of Architecture, Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design. “The recognition of the creative abilities of Adohi’s students is matched by the employment of innovative mass timber design and construction techniques and the sensitive treatment of the immediate landscape. Adohi advances each individual student’s identity and opportunities as it also addresses U of A sustainability goals and design ambitions.”

Nabholz Construction Corporation of Rogers, Arkansas, served as Construction Manager for the project, providing installation of the mass timber package.


About Leers Weinzapfel Associates

Recipient of the 2007 American Institute of Architects Firm Award, Leers Weinzapfel designed the nation’s first Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) academic structure, the John W. Olver Design Building at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, featured in the Wall Street Journal’s Best Architecture of 2017.” The firm’s work lies at the intersection of architecture, urban design, and infrastructure. Recognized for its inventiveness in dramatically complex commissions, its meets these challenges with uncommon design clarity, elegance, and refinement. Widely recognized with nearly 100 national and regional awards, Leers Weinzapfel’s work has been published worldwide and exhibited nationwide. Follow the firm on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and YouTube.

Contact: Debra Pickrel, Principal, Pickrel Communications, Inc. – O 212.753.3140 / debra@pickrelcommunications.com

About Modus Studio

Operating on the idea that relevant and inspiring architecture can be sourced from simple, everyday experiences, modus studio departs from the general rule of form to create thoughtful architecture that begins to shape the present landscape and plan for a sustainable future. Modus is rooted in Northwest Arkansas and champions architecture as a means of navigating the threshold between the natural and manmade world. Based in a thinking/making philosophy, modus studio bridges the worlds of design and fabrication with modus shop, providing the ability to build the things they believe in, to the level of craft they seek. The firm recently won a Small Projects Award from the American Institute of Architects and were given the 2018 Architectural League of New York’s Emerging Voices Award.

Contact: Chris Lankford, Director of Marketing + Engagement – O 479.455.5577 / lankford@modusstudio.com

About Mackey Mitchell Architects

Founder Gene Mackey’s guidance developed Mackey Mitchell Architects into a group of thought leaders driven by a philosophy of life-long learning and dedication to the power of human potential. We are proven experts in planning, design, construction, and renovation for higher education—including residential, social, dining, and academic facilities—as well as K-12 and special needs education, workplace, and civic + cultural facilities. Mackey Mitchell’s commitment is to design places that are engaging, sustainable, and appropriate to their surroundings. We fully embrace sustainability, with more than 40 LEED-certified projectsincluding two LEED Platinum residence halls. With a broad range of firm awards and award-winning projects, we provide the right balance of expertise and innovation needed for the success of any project, and our broad range of experience gives us uncommon insight into how people of all ages and abilities choose to engage with their community spaces. Mackey Mitchell Architects specializes in transformation—creating places that foster learning, socialization and collaboration, where everyone feels they are a part of something greater than themselves.

Contact: Trey Bartsch, Marketing Coordinator – O 314.932.1927 / trey_b@mackeymitchell.com

About OLIN

OLIN is a professional studio of more than 90 landscape architects, planners, and urban designers. From offices in Philadelphia and Los Angeles, the firm creates distinguished landscapes and urban designs worldwide. OLIN’s work is predicated upon social engagement, craft, environmental responsibility, and timelessness, underscored by a profound appreciation for the unique complexities of the urban realm. The firm’s award-winning projects cross boundaries of scale, typology, and site condition, yet are all driven by a central mission: to create places that enhance life. OLIN’s celebrated projects include Bryant Park in New York City, the J. Paul Getty Center in Los Angeles, Mill River Park in Stamford, Connecticut, Dilworth Park in Philadelphia, and Washington Canal Park in Washington, D.C. We work on projects ranging in size from large-scale master planning commissions to mid-sized institutions to small urban interventions, creating environmentally advanced, technical projects, promoting greater social engagement and ecology for every project.

Contact: Kristen Battaglia, Senior Marketing Manager – O 215.440.0030 x 403 / kbattaglia@theolinstudio.com

About Nabholz Construction

Nabholz Construction Corporation of Rogers, Arkansas served as Construction Manager for the project, self-performing the installation of the mass timber package. Founded in 1949, Nabholz is now a multi-service contractor providing construction, industrial, civil, specialty, environmental, and railroad services from its network of 13 locations across Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Connecticut. With more than 70 years of experience and a steady place in the top 150 on ENR’s “Top 400 Contractors” list, Nabholz continues to bring integrity, quality, and value to projects across the region.

Contact: Angi McDaniel, Director of Marketing Communication – angi.mcdaniel@nabholz.com

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