Architecture

The architecture of Crystal Bridges is as stunning and inspirational as the artwork housed inside it. In a ravine surrounded by native Ozark forest, the Museum’s muscular gray concrete walls rise up from the bedrock, banded in rough cedar and curved to echo the shape of the hillside. The roofs of the Museum’s bridges, covered in deep brown copper, rise like mounds of earth across the still ponds. Designed by architect Moshe Safdie, the structures are meant to provide views of the surrounding landscape and play up the interaction between architecture, art, and nature.

Bringing people, art, and nature together is at the core of Crystal Bridge’s mission, and nature-centric architecture is a key factor in that equation. For that reason, Crystal Bridges celebrates the visionary work of architects such as Safdie and Frank Lloyd Wright, whose buildings work in harmony with the natural environment.

We encourage guests to explore the architecture of Crystal Bridges, as well as that of Wright’s classic Usonian house on the Museum grounds. Guided tours focusing on the architecture of each of these structures are also available.



Moshe Safdie

Crystal Bridges was designed by internationally renowned architect Moshe Safdie, who envisioned a building that would complement the surrounding Ozark landscape. Nestled into a natural ravine, the Museum integrates the element of water on the site through the creation of two spring-fed ponds that are spanned by two signature bridge structures and surrounded by a group of pavilions housing Museum galleries and studios.

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Frank Lloyd Wright

In 2013, Crystal Brides acquired a classic “Usonian” house designed by celebrated American architect Frank Lloyd Wright and constructed in 1954. Known as the Bachman-Wilson House, the structure is being dismantled at its original site in Somerset County, New Jersey, to be reconstructed on the Museum grounds overlooking Crystal Spring. 

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Marlon Blackwell

Architect Marlon Blackwell designed the Museum Store at Crystal Bridges to be an organic complement to the Museum’s natural setting and distinctive architecture. Under a living green roof, the interior ceiling and walls are lined with undulating cherrywood ribs that mimic the fluting on the underside of a mushroom. Blackwell practices architecture in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and serves as distinguished professor and department head in the Fay Jones School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas.

Museum Store



Fly's Eye Dome

The recently acquired 50-foot diameter Fly’s Eye Dome, designed by American architect, designer, and inventor Buckminster Fuller, has been installed on the Museum’s north lawn. This is one of only three original prototypes fabricated in Fuller’s lifetime, and has spent nearly three decades in storage. This first phase of installation of the dome at Crystal Bridges ensures that the iconic structure will be available for viewing this summer. In addition, a focus exhibition, opening June 30, will present selections from Fuller’s Fly’s Eye Dome Archive, which will offer insights into the dome’s design and construction.

The Fly’s Eye Dome is sponsored by Ken and Liz Allen, Chip and Susan Chambers, The Harrison and Rhonda French Family, and Tartaglino Richards Family Foundation in memory of Maurice Jennings.



Architecture in NWA

Discover more about mid-century Modern architecture in Northwest Arkansas! The Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, has created a guide highlighting structures designed by significant mid-century architects in our region. Click here to plan your trip to visit nearby structures by Fay Jones, Edward Durell Stone, Warren Segraves, and more.

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Architecture Blog

April 17, 2017

What’s that big white thing on the north lawn?

Visitors to Crystal Bridges this week will notice something unusual taking shape on the north […]
January 5, 2017

Going Up: North Elevator under construction

Visitors to the Museum have likely noticed that artworks have been removed from the north […]
November 10, 2016

Touring the Dream House and Living the Dream

November 11 is the fifth anniversary of the opening of Crystal Bridges on 11-11-11. It […]