Merge Architects

Merge Architects

Boston, MA


Northwest Arkansas Housing Competition

This proposal is the Site 5 Winner of the Housing Northwest Arkansas Competition in Bentonville, AR. 

Our multi-faceted proposal supports the goal to revitalize within an inclusive housing community. We reinforce the strong public-private partnership represented by the City planning goals and the Walton Family Foundation’s initiative by connecting our site to the rest of the city through public transportation and our proposed communal space(s). The site not only provides amenities for its residents, but there are community and recreational destinations such as co-working/ collaborative space, daycare, a teen center, bowling alley, and restaurants. We have repurposed historic characteristics of the neighborhood by reimagining the Bentonville downtown square on our site in terms of scale and sense of community. The dedicated pedestrian zone intersects with outdoor gathering spaces such as an amphitheater, activated lawn, and shaded bus stop. 

In addition to ground floor programs, inclusion is also achieved with a blend of uses integrated into two residential building typologies. A Courtyard building type houses maisonette Live/Work units that include dynamic double-height spaces. The efficient central corridors overlook the common courtyard. A “Bent Bar” building type houses larger units that are better suited for families or an individual who needs extra space. Utilizing a double-loaded corridor, these buildings step up toward the center of the site and provide carved out rooftop decks with incredible views. 

We looked for ways to use the available resources by utilizing CLT (cross-laminated timber) structurally and cypress wood and brick for cladding. All residential units are laid out in accordance to CLT billet sizes for ease of construction. The warmer tone of the cypress wood siding complements the rich brick. The sustainable strategies include a sculptural cistern that collects rainwater, green roofs on the buildings that acts as thermal mass and photovoltaic panels throughout to offset as much electrical energy that is being consumed.

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Status: Competition Entry
Location: Bentonville, AR, US
Firm Role: Architect / Designer