Scott Family Amazeum

When the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, designed by Moshe Safdie, opened in November 2011, it turned Bentonville, Arkansas, into a destination for art and architecture. Four years later the Scott Family Amazeum joined the museum with offerings for families. Located adjacent to the Cyrstal Bridges entry drive, the Amazeum attracts attention through a soaring roof over the lobby. Haizlip Studio, architects of the Amazeum, answered a few questions about the building.
Entry ( Photo ©: Jeffrey Jacobs )
Please provide an overview of the project.
Planned as an adjunct of the acclaimed Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, the Scott Family Amazeum is 50,000 square feet dedicated to family learning experiences.
East Elevation ( Photo ©: Jeffrey Jacobs )
What are the main ideas and inspirations influencing the design of the building?
The goals of the project were to sensitively graft the museum and five-acre site onto the Crystal Bridges campus at its entrance, and to create a signature work of architecture responding to the community’s explicit aspirations of design excellence.

On a fully exposed site, the visitor entrance and parking lots were internalized while orienting active nature-play gardens and education spaces to face primary public thoroughfares and view corridors. Program spaces were organized in simple plan geometry to let the volume of formal and informal education spaces create a play of three dimensional forms clad in a material palette referencing Crystal Bridges.
Detail ( Photo ©: Ken West )
How does the design respond to the unique qualities of the site?
Every façade has its own story to tell, and distinct architectural character, due to the absence of a back door side. On the east along NE J Street, the building has a static but statuesque presence. To the south along Museum Way, building scale is reduced and materials softened to front onto the play gardens; the west rises to receive visitors at the entrance off the parking lot, while the north successfully conceals the building’s utility side.
South Elevation ( Photo ©: Jeffrey Jacobs )
How did the project change between the initial design stage and the completion of the building?
Haizlip Studio originally envisioned the glulam structure as a composite structure, with both the parallel and perpendicular beams in one plane, instead of stacked. It was an elegant design requiring complex structural connections that were ultimately deemed too expensive during the value-engineering phase. We conceded, except at the main Lobby entrance, where the roof canopy soars to welcome visitors into the museum lobby.
Lobby ( Photo ©: Ken West )
What products or materials have contributed to the success of the completed building?
Most notably, the lobby and exhibit hall feature curved glue-laminated timber beams and a structural wood deck that sits on steel columns. The attachment between these two systems highlights the connection between the two materials and is a synthesis of refined engineered utility and the warm emotive aesthetic of wood.

Email interview conducted by John Hill.
Exhibit Hall ( Photo ©: Ken Petersen )
Site Plan ( Drawing ©: Haizlip Studio )
Floor Plan ( Drawing ©: Haizlip Studio )
Lobby to Exhibit Hall Section ( Drawing ©: Haizlip Studio )
Lobby Section ( Drawing ©: Haizlip Studio )
Scott Family Amazeum
Bentonville, Arkansas

Scott Family Amazeum

Haizlip Studio
Memphis, Tennessee

Design Principal/Project Architect
Reb Haizlip, AIA

Project Managers
Mary Haizlip, AIA and Scott Van Der Jagt, AIA

Project Team
Mark Owings, AIA (Crafton Tull – Associated Architect); Josh Jackson, Sam Griffin, Christina Sandor, Thaler Beasley

Associate Architect/Structural Engineer/MEP/FP Engineer
Crafton Tull

Landscape Architect
Crafton Tull  and Howell and Vancuren

Lighting Designer/Interior Designer
Haizlip Studio

Nabholz Corporation

Construction Manager
Rob Dodd

Civil Engineering
CEI Engineering Associates, Inc.

Glue-laminated Wood Beams

Zinc Cladding
Jarden Zinc Projects – Flat Lock Panels

Aluminum Composite Panels
Universe Cladding Solutions

Cedar Siding
Sustain Preserved Wood

Site Area
5.09 acres

Building Area
50,000 sf