Crystal Bridges announces planned outdoor play area and new parking deck

Convergence play area / Concept rendering by Studio Bryan Hanes

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art announced plans for a four-acre outdoor family play area and a new parking deck with programmable space on the southeast side of the museum’s campus.

The free, public play area will be called Convergence, and is a collaboration with the nearby Amazeum. It will give guests an opportunity to interact with art and nature through play.

“The space will invite visitors to step off the trail and into a park that uses the natural surroundings to engage the senses with interactive elements and water features that mimic the Ozark landscape,” according to a news release.

Museum officials said plans for the play area are still in the schematic design phase, and the timeline for development will be shared at a later date.

“We are excited to share the vision of this community play space that we’ve worked on in collaboration with Crystal Bridges and the Design Excellence winner, Studio Bryan Hanes,” said Sam Dean, executive director of the Amazeum. “This unique partnership brings together two different cultural institutions, both passionately interested in creativity, curiosity, and pushing the boundaries of inquiry that allow people to be explorers in nature while actively learning about the many intersections of art, science, and nature.”

J Street View of Parking Deck and Program Space / Rendering by Marlon Blackwell Architects

The museum also announced plans for a new multi-use, six-story parking structure and program space designed by Marlon Blackwell Architects. The deck will provide 800 free parking spots for Crystal Bridges, Convergence, the Amazeum and area trail visitors.

The structure will include a proscenium with two levels of program and engagement space on the west side of the deck, as well as public restrooms and more. Construction of the parking deck is scheduled to begin in spring 2021 on the east side of the museum’s campus, north of the Amazeum, with an estimated completion date of fall 2022.

Officials said the goal is to create a system of entrances, exits, and pedestrian crossings that make the design functional and aesthetically pleasing.

“Through the design process, we were thinking about architecture’s role in presenting a space for community,” said Blackwell. “This is more than a parking structure. It is an extended threshold to the Crystal Bridges campus and provides an event stage for a variety of outdoor programs and activities focused on art and nature.”