SWA Group has been chosen to develop the overall landscape architectural design of the Walmart New Home Office Campus headquarters in Bentonville, AR. Part of the design team, which also includes Gensler, Walter P Moore and Arup, SWA Group will lead the open space design with an eye towards connecting people with the natural environment.
Inspired by “Big Nature,” the landscape plan aligns with the natural ecologies and beauty of the region, expressing Walmart’s hometown heritage and company values. The plan will also preserve many mature trees and native species and provide the public with unprecedented connectivity to the Razorback Greenway.
“The new campus is rooted in the beauty of the Northwest Arkansas landscape, interwoven with forward-thinking resilience strategies,” says Gerdo Aquino, CEO of SWA. “The variety of outdoor spaces address the day-to-day needs of the employees and visitors while nurturing a connection with nature that people increasingly seek in their daily lives and in the workplace. Stormwater strategies become the basis of landscape design and give form and function to the various greenways and gathering spaces.”
SWA’s design approach reflects the client’s desire for the campus to feel integrated with the surrounding community and to stay true to its roots. The “Big Nature” plan encourages interaction between Walmart associates, the Bentonville community, and the physical environment to reinforce holistic well-being and to reflect the complex mosaic of habitats found throughout the region and the distinctive culture that has been an integral part of the company’s history. The approximately 300-acre campus consists of four office neighborhoods with distinct characteristics – from woodland to wetland – and is centered around “quads” of varying size, shape, and program in addition to smaller open spaces and courtyards related to individual buildings. Large open spaces associated with lakes and natural habitat areas anchor the campus at the northwest and south. Outdoor spaces support workplace flexibility, while a cohesive network of streets, walkways, and bikeways connect the campus both internally and with the surrounding community of Bentonville.
Walmart’s sustainability values are integral to the landscape design not only through the selection of low-irrigation native and adaptive plantings but also through the use of salvaged and locally sourced materials and comprehensive storm management. A focus on non-vehicular transportation to and around campus embraces innovative mobility strategies, enhancing the pedestrian experience and improving bike circulation.
The resulting work environment promises to become an inclusive and seamless part of the urban/rural fabric of Bentonville, attracting future associates and visitors with its connections to the region’s unique local ecologies and the company’s standing in the world marketplace.
Images and Text | SWA