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BENTONVILLE, Ark., Jan. 10, 2022 – The Walton Family Foundation is building on the success of its Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program by welcoming 31 firms with deep and diverse experiences creating inclusive public spaces. Renowned architect Toshiko Mori will also join the program’s selection committee.
“The Design Excellence Program is unique not only in its focus on America’s Heartland but in its ability to shape and strengthen communities through public spaces,” said Jeremy Pate, senior program officer with the Walton Family Foundation’s Home Region Program. “The program’s continued success speaks to the diversity of its talent and its commitment to engaging with those served by its projects.”
The foundation established the Design Excellence Program in 2015 to address potential planning challenges associated with Northwest Arkansas’s rapid growth and create welcoming public spaces that foster meaningful, shared experiences. Since then, it has supported 15 projects across the region’s five largest cities, including Thaden School, a 2021 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Education Facility Design Award and 2020 AIA Arkansas Design Award recipient; TheatreSquared, 2020 American Architecture Awardee; and Railyard Park, an urban space that has received acclaim from Arch Daily, Design Boom, Dezeen and Metropolis.
As a new selection committee member, Toshiko Mori will help conduct searches for designers. She is the founding principal of Toshiko Mori Architect PLLC and Robert P. Hubbard Professor at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. She is a member of the Academy of Arts and Letters; fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; and recipient of the Isamu Noguchi Award, Louis Auchincloss Prize, ACSA Tau Sigma Delta National Honor Society Gold Medal and Architectural Record’s Women in Design Leader Award.
“I am honored to be appointed to the selection committee of Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program of Walton Family Foundation,” said Toshiko Mori. “The focus on promoting design excellence in Benton and Washington counties is an important initiative to create resilient, inclusive and vibrant communities.” The following firms will participate in the program:
The selected designers can remain in the program for up to five years, or until they are chosen for a project. With these additions, the Design Excellence Program now includes 68 architecture and landscape architecture firms.
To view the original press release, click here.