Photo by Timothy Hursley

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, a 200,000-sq-ft museum and cultural center, features complex geometric forms inspired by the local Arkansas landscape as well as the suspension bridges of Bhutan.

The museum was built using bridge engineering to create hanging structures, suspending the museum above a creek bed. Two suspended cable-and-wood buildings were secured using specially designed rock anchors to stabilize the large abutments on both roofs. Engineers used analysis models to create the structures and model their behavior during construction, helping to determine construction and erection tolerances.

One judge calls the project an "impressive coordination between architecture and engineering. Innovation at its finest."

Project Team

Owner: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Ark.

Architect: Safdie Architects, Somerville, Ma.

General Contractor: Linbeck Nabholz Joint Venture, Houston, Texas

Structural/MEP Engineer: Buro Happold Consulting Engineers, New York City

Civil Engineer: CEI Engineering Associates, Bentonville, Ark.