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Architecture at Home, Crystal Bridges’ outdoor architecture exhibition, brings together five prototypes for homes to spark a dialogue about contemporary housing. Through research, interviews, and innovative thinking, five architecture firms based across the Americas designed and fabricated 500 square-foot prototypes for a contemporary house to be displayed in the exhibition. Overall, this exhibition helps us better understand how architecture affects our lives, determine what makes a house a home, and celebrate the artistry in building and shelter.
Exhibited along the Orchard Trail on the museum’s grounds and anchored by R. Buckminster Fuller’s Fly’s Eye Dome, a prototype for an experimental home, the forms and materials of the five structures articulate the many ways in which we could live. Visitors can enter and explore these immersive, domestic prototypes, and interpretive elements focus on use of materials, scale, form, light, and interaction with the landscape.
The five architecture firms participating in the exhibition are studioSUMO, LEVENBETTS, MUTUO, PPAA (Perez Palacios Arquitectos Asociados), and studio:indigenous. These firms are led by architects from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and experiences, and each surveyed the needs, challenges, and opportunities of the Northwest Arkansas community to develop their prototypes.
Crystal Bridges acknowledges the complex and unequal realities of housing and recognizes that the Northwest Arkansas community is not immune to these challenges. Neither the Architecture at Home exhibition nor the museum can single-handedly solve the problems of housing insecurity, sustainability, or access to attainable housing. In creating this exhibition, however, Crystal Bridges seeks to inspire greater awareness of what is possible for housing through research and experimental design. The exhibition is inspired by Fuller’s lifelong mission of making “the world work, for 100% of humanity, in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation, without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone.” With Architecture at Home, Crystal Bridges is eager to join a larger, active, and ongoing conversation around the concept of home and the realities of housing in our backyard and around the globe. The exhibition can draw attention to the serious impact of building on the environment and encourage activism toward enforcing protections and regulations that can make sustainable and attainable housing more accessible.
The five architecture firms, selected because of their unique personal stories and professional practice, are working with Crystal Bridges and our larger community to listen and share ideas on how housing can work for more people. Their housing prototypes are ideas—rooted in reality and hope for the future, but with an understanding that in order to succeed, we will have to change how we build, how society understands and values housing, and address the economic realities of materials and regulations. This exhibition utilizes their five solutions to help make change possible. We, you, and the larger community can move closer to a more equitable society through conversation, exchange of ideas, and action steps accelerated by this exhibition.