after opening in bentonville, arkansas in 2011, crystal bridges museum of american art will see an expansion by its original architect, moshe safdie. the design team at safdie architects reveals images of the proposal, which will increase the size of the museum by fifty percent — adding nearly 100,000 square feet to the 200,000-square-foot complex — and increasing gallery space by 65 percent. committed to free access to art for all, the museum has long celebrated the american spirit in a setting that unites the power of art with the beauty of nature. the new space will increase capacity for presenting art and exhibitions, educational and outreach initiatives, cultural programming, and community events.

safdie crystal bridges museum
images courtesy of safdie architects



led by moshe safdie, the team at safdie architects returns to arkansas’ crystal bridges museum of american art ten years after completing the original design. the project will mark a seamlessly integrated expansion that resonates with the existing pavilions and outdoor spaces. new structures will host additional galleries, educational facilities, event spaces, a café, and new indoor and outdoor gathering spaces. extending the long-term partnership between crystal bridges and safdie architects, the design continues the deep integration of art, architecture, and nature that has become synonymous with crystal bridges. the project is currently in the design development phase with construction commencing in early 2022 with the goal of completing construction in 2024. before the expansion, a reconfigured, safdie architects-designed main lobby and courtyard will be completed in may 2021.

safdie crystal bridges museum



the relationship between the crystal bridges museum of american art and its natural surroundings promotes an accessible experience that creates an environment of inclusion and belonging. design highlights include two new galleries along with the expansion of existing gallery spaces; more educational spaces and a dedicated floor with community gathering areas, art studios, maker spaces; a new bridge connecting two galleries, with full-height views of the natural surroundings, which will add non-traditional space for art that is not sensitive to light; a circular event plaza which will increase opportunities for outdoor community programming and performances.

safdie crystal bridges museum


crystal bridges and safdie architects are working with coen+partners landscape architects to develop dedicated outdoor spaces to enhance the existing network of surrounding trails and art encounters.
buro happold has returned as the structural, façade, and MEP engineer of the project to continue its collaboration on the innovative series of interconnected, pavilions that bridge, surround, and create the ponds that are an integral part of the museum design. moshe safdie, founder of safdie architects comments:it has been a joy to see crystal bridges’ 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.’

safdie crystal bridges museum



project info:


project title: crystal bridges museum of american art

design architect: safdie architects

associate architect: hight jackson

structural, façade, and MEP engineers: buro happold

civil engineers: CEI engineers

landscape architects: coen+partners

lighting: LAM

contractor: flintco

status: design development phase, construction expected to begin early 2022