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moshe safdie: crystal bridges museum
original content
mar 29, 2012
moshe safdie: crystal bridges museum


‘crystal bridges museum’ by safdie architects, bentonville, arkansas, USA
image © tim hursley
all images courtesy of safdie architects

nestled between two hills in the ozarks of bentonville, arkansas, the ‘crystal bridges museum’, a complex for american art
by boston-based safdie architects traverses a stream within the wild landscape. covering 120 acres, the grounds are crossed with
an extensive trail network which leads through mature forests of dogwoods, oaks and white pines and eventually leading
into the nearby downtown area. the environment fuses art with nature, allowing visitors to descend from the site’s entrance and immerse
themselves into the center’s recessed setting, encountering a cluster of pavilions wrapped around a focal pond.
accentuating the remote location, the crowns of surrounding trees peer above the arching roof edge, which draw upon the
traditional architecture created with regional materials.

concrete colonnades and walls are poured-in-place, warmed with wooden bands which have been preset into the formwork.
the flooring of the main galleries are rooted into the earth while laminated wood beams and decks of arkansas white pine produce
the column-free spans of the concave and convex roof framing. in conjunction with catenary cables, these together generate
a suspension bridge. clad with copper, the toroidal shapes will patina with time, continuing to pick up the coloring of the fauna and flora.
intervals between the structural elements create linear skylights which filter daylight into the interior. a secondary layer diffuses
the light to protect the artworks on display.


entrance
image © tim hursley

acting as a dam, two opposing galleries bridge the stream, creating two calm ponds from the northbound flow of water.
circulating over water and through a series of linked buildings for exhibits, educational spaces, auditorium, restaurant,
and general services, individuals are offered vistas though glass curtain walls across the open internal space. between the
main structures are outdoor amphitheaters, vegetated courtyards, garden and meadow capable of supporting diverse functions
including banquets, lectures, performances and outdoor dining.


gallery bridge viewed from art trail
image © tim hursley


courtyard view of museum store from entrance arcade
image © tim hursley


view across amphitheater toward gallery bridge
image © tim hursley


east building viewed from across upper pond
image © tim hursley


dining bridge exterior
image © tim hursley


dining bridge exterior
image © tim hursley


view of upper pond from gallery bridge
image © tim hursley


view from dining bridge across upper pond
image © tim hursley


view of art trail and lowell’s ocean by mark di suvero from gallery bridge
image © tim hursley


dining bridge
image © tim hursley


dining bridge
image © tim hursley


dining bridge at night
image © tim hursley


dining bridge at night
image © tim hursley


dining bridge at night
image © tim hursley


20th century gallery
image © tim hursley


dining bridge from across the pond
image © tim hursley


night view
image © tim hursley


construction view of bridge building


construction of bridge building


detail of bridge roof during construction


aerial view of model
image © john horner


aerial view of model at night

image © john horner


model at night
image © john horner


view across north pond to gallery bridge


view of circulation path in bridge building
image © john horner


view of gallery in bridge building

image © john horner


site plan


floor plan / level 0


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