LITTLE ROCK — The Jacksonport State Park Visitor Center, designed by Arkansas-based architectural firm Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects, received an Honor Citation Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Gulf States Chapter design awards competition.

Of 131 projects entered in the annual design competition, the Jacksonport State Park Visitor Center was recognized in the Top 10 designs in the Gulf States region of Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.

Architects from the Gulf States Region of the American Institute of Architects assembled via Zoom to celebrate the 2020 Design Awards. Seventeen projects in all were recognized for their exceptional choices in lighting, materials, color and planes, sustainability and overall design excellence.

The jury was taken with the design’s connection with the rural riverfront site in the delta: “The key for this project is raising the building and providing the open amphitheater stair at the core. It engages the users at different locations and allows the user to engage with the land and view in different ways.”

This is the third AIA design award for the Visitor Center, receiving regional and state attention. Last October, the Visitor Center won an Honor award and a People’s Choice award (as voted by the public as the State’s favorite new building for 2019) in the AIA Arkansas Chapter’s annual design awards.

“We are grateful for our friends at Arkansas State Parks for their belief in this design, which is now bringing national attention to an important place in Arkansas’ rich history,” said design principal Reese Rowland of Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects. “They took a chance on a different design approach, one that is more about seeing than being seen, experiencing place more than a building, and created a modern viewing platform to the past that honors the 1873 courthouse and river port. While it is gratifying that this small rural project is making such an impact when measured against larger metropolitan work from the Gulf States region, it is more important that it is serving well the thousands of people exploring our state parks.”

With the success of the Jacksonport State Park Visitor Center, Arkansas State Parks selected Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects to design the new Visitor Center at Pinnacle Mountain State Park.

“We are also excited and hopeful that our next State Parks Visitor Center design for Pinnacle Mountain State Park will have a similar impact with its own unique place at the foothills of the Ouachita and Ozark Mountains,” Rowland said. “It will be a gateway to not only Pinnacle, but all of Arkansas’ State Parks.”