2021 AIA Housing Awards: Adohi Hall by Leers Weinzapfel Associates

Adohi Hall

Architect: Leers Weinzapfel  Associates

Owner: Florence Johnson

Location:  Fayetteville , Arkansas

Category:    Specialized Housing

Drawing inspiration from the Cherokee phrase adohi, which translates to woods or timber, this new residence hall at the University of Arkansas is the first large-scale mass timber building in the nation. At more than 202,000 square feet and housing nearly 700 students, the facilities are a bold demonstration of sustainability with clear ties to the importance of forestry to the region. Equally important for its use of cross-laminated timber and its approach to live-learn spaces, Adohi Hall is a pioneering venture for both the university and the state of Arkansas.

“Lovely secondary and shared spaces and illustration of the use of timber throughout, including in dorm rooms,”- Jury comment

The university’s historic core sits atop McIlroy Hill in Fayetteville, but the new hall is at the foot of the hill in what’s known as the Athletic Valley. Positioned at the southern end of the campus, the hall sits on a north-to-south sloping site, framing a new campus gateway. Envisioned as a cabin in the woods, the hall is a serpentine band of rooms framed with cross-laminated timber and adorned with a jacket of zinc-toned siding. The hall floats above courtyards as a circuitous path runs the site’s length, passing beneath student rooms and coursing through the natural landscape.

“Lovely secondary and shared spaces and illustration of the use of timber throughout, including in dorm rooms,” noted the jury. “The building also considers and reflects the broader landscape, linking interior and exterior spaces through a transparent ground plane.”

To place a strong emphasis on access to nature, the buildings and landscape are stitched together as an extension of the forested hillside. This approach delivers unique outdoor spaces that resonate with the interiors. A stand of mature trees serves as the anchor point for the northernmost courtyard, while the “front porch” of the nearest building serves as a key point of entry. Midway down the slope, a lively terrace marks the community’s heart, while the nearby “cabin” at the midpoint of the passage marks the main commons. It contains a central lounge, community kitchen, rooftop terrace, and additional amenities.

Inside, wings of suites and pods offer students a wide variety of living configurations. Double-height lounges at the junctions boast kitchen and social spaces while, at the ends, quiet study rooms stand out as a series of lanterns along the adjacent roadway. The warmth of the project’s structural wood ceilings and columns can be found throughout.


Timothy Hursley
Timothy Hursley
Timothy Hursley
Timothy Hursley


Additional information

Design collaboration led by Leers Weinzapfel Associates, with Modus Studio, Mackey Mitchell Architects, and OLIN

Architect of Record: Modus Studio

Architect:  Mackey Mitchell Architects

Sustainability Consultant: Entegrity

Engineer – Civil: Development Consultants, Inc.

Engineer- MEPFP:  Bernhard TME

Engineer -Structural:  Equilibrium Consulting, Inc.

Engineer -Structural of Record: Engineering Consulting, Inc.

General Contractor:  Nabholz

Landscape Architect: OLIN Landscape

Architect of Record: Development  Consultants, Inc.


Ceara O’Leary, AIA (Chair), Detroit Collaborative Design Center, Detroit, MI

Allison Anderson, FAIA, unabridged Architecture, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi

Kelly Beamon, METROPOLIS, New York, NY

Alex Salazar, AIA, Salazar Architect, Portland, Oregon

Roberta Washington, FAIA, Roberta Washington Architects, New York, NY

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