August 1, 2021

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art Reveals Plans for Major Expansion Designed by Safdie Architects

Aerial Rendering of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Courtesy Safdie Architects.

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art announced plans for a major expansion that will increase the size of the facility by roughly 50%, adding new galleries, educational facilities, and community spaces to allow visitors to have access to more art, programs, and events. The project is in the design development phase with construction commencing in early 2022 and the goal of completing construction in 2024.

“It’s wonderful to see how our community and travelers from around the world have enjoyed experiencing art, nature, and architecture, thanks to  Moshe Safdie’s design,” said Alice Walton, Crystal Bridges founder and board chairperson. “With the number of visitors we welcome annually, it’s timely to enlarge our building and make sure more people can access these offerings.”

Ten years after completing the original design for the museum, Safdie Architects has returned to create new galleries, educational facilities, event spaces, a café, and new indoor and outdoor gathering spaces. Extending the partnership between the organizations, the design deepens the integration of art, architecture, and nature that has become synonymous with Crystal Bridges.

“It has been a joy to see Crystal Bridge’s enthusiastic reception by the public. We are honored to be back and working with the museum to realize a series of new facilities which will enrich the diversity of the museum experience,” said Moshe Safdie, founder Safdie Architects.

Since opening in 2011, Crystal Bridges has welcomed more than five million visitors with free admission to the collection and five miles of art trails on 120 acres. The museum has doubled its collection since opening, with a focus on acquiring works by underrepresented artists. In 2019, Crystal Bridges welcomed more than 700,000 visitors including 50,000 students participating in school field trips.

Complementing existing design elements, the expansion will use regional materials sourced from Northwest Arkansas. The project creates new connections between the galleries, program spaces, and surrounding park and trails. Highlights include:

  • A 65% increase in gallery space including adding two new galleries and new spaces for community displays.
  • More education spaces with gathering areas, plus art and maker studios.
  • A new bridge connecting galleries offering space for art, reflection, gatherings, and a new café.
  • An event plaza increasing opportunities for outdoor programming and performances.

Learn more at www.CrystalBridges.org and www.safdiearchitects.com