Crystal Bridges Collection Takes Turn Toward the Modern

by Jan Cottingham  on Monday, Jul. 12, 2010 12:00 am  

Opening Day

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville was originally scheduled to open in 2009. That was pushed back to 2010 and then pushed back again.

Director Don Bacigalupi, citing the complexity of the museum construction, said the museum was now aiming to open by the end of 2011 or the beginning of 2012.

Architect Moshe Safdie is designing the glass-and-wood building, which will feature what's described as a "series of pavilions nestled around two creek-fed ponds."

John Wilmerding, a member of the board, said, "It's like building a darn airplane terminal out in the wilderness. It's a huge architectural project."

Alice Walton, he said, "very much has wanted, as you know, a building that will exist in nature not just plunked onto it. And to achieve that, I believe there have been serious cost overruns. I think everything is now on track and in control."

As with the art collection, museum officials say next-to-nothing about the cost of the structure. But Crystal Bridges' latest report to the IRS, for 2008, notes payment of $23.3 million to Linbeck-Nabholz Joint Venture Co. Inc., the contractor, and $4.2 million to Moshe Safdie & Associates. And it puts the total fair market value of land, buildings and equipment at $70 million.

- Jan Cottingham



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