Urban Revitalization: Little Rock’s River Arts District

Urban Revitalization: Little Rock’s River Arts District
13 Sep 2018

During the mid-1960s downtown Little Rock suffered the same fate as many other U.S. cities—businesses and employees fled the urban core and moved to the suburbs, leaving a downtown full of parking lots and shuttered businesses.  Fortunately, progressive city leaders developed and implemented a plan to reverse the blight, and it’s now showing fruit, making Little Rock a surprisingly nice place to visit.

One of the key elements of urban revitalization is insuring there’s housing in the urban core. 3

300 Third Tower, designed by AMR Architects is geared toward people who want to live near the urban center, only a few blocks from both the central business and river arts districts and walking trails along the scenic river.

Its exterior is clad largely in natural materials, most importantly flat seam style copper wall panels.  The copper started out shiny, as you can see in the during installation image, taken in mid-2006, and has now attained a beautiful rich brown tone.  Eventually, much of this copper will weather green, but it may take many decades on a vertical surface.

Nearby, on Clinton Ave., the main thoroughfare of the River Arts District, is the Arkansas Studies Institute.  Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects designed the beautiful building, which is dedicated to the study of Arkansas history and culture.   



The main entrance is accentuated with copper wall cladding.  The building opened in 2009—so the now rich brown toned copper is indicative of about a decade of weathering. Whereas the rectangular panels on the 300 Third building are oriented lengthwise along a horizontal axis, here we see the copper panels with the longer length placed vertically.

By the way, if you’re in the area the Copper Grill, located nearby, consistently offers pretty good food.



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