John Ed and Isabel Anthony make a new giveaway for the center’s makerspace

Russell Cothren

John Ed and Isabel Anthony attend the groundbreaking ceremony in November 2021 for the Anthony Timberlands Center for Design and Materials Innovation. The couple have made a new donation to support the future naming of a manufacturing space in the center in honor of Dean Peter MacKeith.

University of Arkansas alumnus John Ed Anthony and his wife, Isabel, are contributing $2.5 million to support the future naming of a makerspace within the Anthony Timberlands Center for Design and Materials Innovation in honor of Peter MacKeith, Dean of the Fay Jones School of Architecture. and Design since 2014.

This donation supports the center by providing for the future naming of a 9,000 square foot fabrication space the Peter Brabson MacKeith II Workshop and Fabrication Lab. It will be the center’s largest interior space, taking up most of the ground floor, and it will open up to the manufacturing yard.

“We are extremely grateful for the generous commitment and vision of the Anthony family,” said Mark Power, Vice Chancellor for Advancement. “They have inspired collaboration and garnered support from friends and benefactors to support important sustainable wood and wood design initiatives originating in Arkansas.”

The majority of support for this new design research facility at the university has been provided by private funds. In 2018, the Anthonys made the lead gift of $7.5 million toward the establishment of the center, which will primarily focus on design innovation in wood and wood.

The Anthony Timberlands Center will serve as the home of the Fay Jones School’s wood and timber graduate program and as the epicenter of its multiple timber and timber initiatives. It will house the school’s existing design-build program and an expanded digital fabrication lab. The school is a leading advocate of innovation in wood and wood design.

This manufacturing workshop will be the heart of the building, as the largest and most active space. It will include a large central bay, with a metallurgical workshop, a seminar room and a small digital lab nearby, as well as a dedicated space for a large CNC router. These spaces will be serviced by an overhead crane that travels on rails from the inside out to move large equipment and assemblies in and out of the building.

“It is fitting that the manufacturing space at the heart of the research facility is named in honor of Dean Peter MacKeith and in recognition of his leadership in this transformative enterprise for the university and the state,” Power said. .

Located in the university’s Art and Design District, the four-story, 44,800-square-foot center will also include studios, seminar and conference rooms, faculty offices, a small auditorium, and space public exhibition. Construction of the center began in September, with an expected completion date of fall 2024.

Anthony said soon after MacKeith arrived in Arkansas more than eight years ago, MacKeith immediately saw the potential in the state’s forests. The state is nearly 57% forested, with nearly 12 billion trees of various species growing on nearly 19 million acres. MacKeith introduced Anthony, Founder and President of Anthony Timberlands Inc., to the ways mass timber products are used in European construction in other parts of the world, including Finland, where MacKeith has lived and worked. for 10 years after initially going there. as a Fulbright Scholar.

“He introduced not only me, but the entire Arkansas forest products community, to concepts that were happening all over the world,” Anthony said. “He did this almost alone. He formed committees; he made speeches; he incorporated his zeal to bring groups of people together to hear about those innovations that had not been brought to America.

Anthony knew these revolutionary approaches to construction were important to the United States, where “stick construction” with cut-to-size lumber has long been prevalent. And despite the lumber and wood products industry that has long thrived in this mostly forested state, there had never been a focused effort on developments like this. Moreover, with increasing attention to the environment and the future health of the planet, it is essential to expand the means of exploiting a renewable resource such as forest products.

With all of this, it made more sense for a wood-focused research center to be located on the campus of the state’s flagship university. The university had already begun using solid and cross-laminated timber (CLT) timber in two recent projects: the University Libraries High-Density Storage Annex and Adohi Hall, a new Living Learning Community Residence.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed construction and increased costs, Anthony said, enthusiasm for the research center remains strong.

“There are few forest products labs in America, and only two or three are recognized,” Anthony said. “The teaching and development of new wood construction techniques in architecture is not widespread.”

So, in addition to their initial donation to the new center, Anthony said he and Isabel, with this second donation, want to specifically recognize MacKeith for bringing this concept to the state, the wood and wood products industry. and at university.

“There’s only one person responsible for bringing this project to fruition – and that’s not me. It’s Peter MacKeith. And I can think of nothing more fitting than naming the design space and making this building in her honour,” Anthony said. “That’s what Isabel and I wanted to do because of her influence. encouraging.”

John Ed Anthony holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Sam M. Walton College of Business. He previously served on the U of A Board of Trustees and in 2012 was inducted into the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame at Walton College. He and his wife, Isabel, are part of the university’s Towers of Old Main, a donation society for the university’s most generous benefactors, as well as the Chancellor’s Society.

About Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design: The Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design at the University of Arkansas is home to professional design undergraduate programs in architecture, landscape architecture, and interior design, as well as a liberal studies program. The school also offers a Masters in Design Studies, with concentrations in Health and Wellness Design, Resilience Design, Integrated Wood Design, and Retail and Hospitality Design. . The DesignIntelligence The 2019 School Ranking Survey ranked the school among the most hired architecture, landscape architecture and interior design schools, ranking 10th, 14th and eighth respectively, as well as 28th among schools most admired architecture.

About the University of Arkansas: As Arkansas’ flagship institution, the U of A offers an internationally competitive education in more than 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the U of A contributes more than $2.2 billion to the Arkansas economy through teaching new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and employment development, discovery through research and creative activity while providing training in professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation ranks the U of A among the few American colleges and universities with the highest level of research activity. US News and World Report ranks the U of A among the top public universities in the nation. Learn how the U of A is working to build a better world at Arkansas Research News.

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