Celebrating Six AIA Nebraska Design Awards

Six projects from HDR’s design studio in Omaha, Neb., were honored with Excellence in Design awards at the AIA Nebraska awards ceremony on September 10, 2015, held in conjunction with the chapter’s annual conference. Projects are judged based on a variety of features, including unique design, originality, extended use attributes, sustainability, budget and use of environmental surroundings.

“It's an honor for us to be recognized with six awards among the volume of excellent work being produced in the state of Nebraska,” commented Mike Hamilton, AIA, design principal in the Omaha office. “It’s a testament to the creative work and culture of our design studio."

The Marjorie K. Daugherty Conservatory at Lauritzen Gardens received an Honor Award in Architecture, the New Parkland Hospital received a Merit Award in Architecture, and Art Works at the Joslyn Art Museum received on Honor Award in Interior Architecture.  In addition, HDR’s Ross Miller, Associate AIA, received two awards for emerging architects in the Architectural Detail category.

AIA Nebraska also offered the general public a chance to participate in a separate online voting process to determine winners from the field of distinguished entrants. HDR’s design of the Niobrara Valley Preserve received top votes in the Unbuilt category.

This year’s winners were selected by the following Knoxville, Tenn. jury members: John Sanders, AIA, Sanders Pace Architecture, Jury Chair; Chad Boetger, AIA, BARBERMcMURRY architects; Tricia Smith, AIA, curb; and Brandon Pace, AIA, Sanders Pace Architecture. Additional information about each of the winning projects follows.



Marjorie K. Daugherty Conservatory, Laurtizen Gardens, Omaha, Neb.

The conservatory consists of 17,500-square-feet of space for indoor displays of tropical and temperate region plants. It’s designed to enrich the surrounding region with the knowledge of a tropical environment that is otherwise difficult to obtain without traveling a great distance.

Jury Comments: Beautifully continues and evolves the tradition of conservatory design, elegant evolution of the glazed shed through approach to form and detail; the design constraints and process are explained well in the submission and the jury applauds the integration of technology and systems in the process and in the building’s aesthetics, expression and performance



Art Works, Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Neb.

The creativity center project began as the renovation of an old archive/library storage room in the Joslyn Art Museum. The 1,500 square-foot single room space is located in a lower level wing, and revolves around the creation of 10 different activity stations within the space, with all activities being relatable back to works of art found within the museum’s permanent collections.

Jury Comments: A windowless, subterranean storage/archive room is successfully transformed to a bright and cheerful place to interactively explore the museum’s collection. The free plan ties nicely into existing circulation and allows large school groups flexibility and plenty of room while creating intimate niches that children love and that supports the needs of the exhibits. Excellent control of color, material, light and space that transcends “design for kids” and makes a fun place for adults and kids.



New Parkland Hospital, Parkland Health & Hospital System, Dallas, Texas

The New Parkland Hospital project, which includes a new 2.1 million-square-foot replacement hospital, laid the groundwork for a new 64-acre campus. The theme for the master plan grew from addressing the diverse needs of the groups of people or “communities” that experience Parkland on a daily basis and about the medical center’s relevance and importance as a civic anchor. The design of the signature building—the 862-bed new Parkland Hospital—is described as a “bold essay in geometry” with alternate horizontal and vertical masses. The building massing, while iconic, is an honest expression of Parkland’s healthcare program and operational requirements. Designed by HDR + Corgan.

Jury Comments: Very well done project considering the complexity of the project and the scale of the program. Wonderful how a massive building like this can operate at multiple scales – from the scale of the city to the scale of the detail. Successful in achieving community connectivity and technological advancement.



The American Institute of Architects, Nebraska Chapter Office/Lincoln Haymarket Development Corp. Office, Lincoln, Neb.

Ross Miller, Associate AIA

Partnering with the Lincoln Haymarket Development Corp., the AIA Nebraska Chapter agreed to combine and renovate its existing office space within an adjacent, publicly visible, vacant space in a historic 1920s warehouse. The design challenge was three-fold: maximize the given footprint shared by the two entities; strengthen the brand and distinct identities of the two entities; and transform the historic space into a contemporary and modern environment that acknowledges its history.

Jury Comments: The red element includes a number of nice details that address the urban scale and experience from the sidewalk and organize the interior. For a small space the element simplifies the number of moves by integrating lighting, signage, ceiling, and wall–and is a nice approach to inserting architecture within a historic context. Restraint, clean detailing, and use of color pull together a simple, yet powerful, design.



AIA Recognition: Trophy Series, AIA Omaha & AIA Central States Region

Ross Miller, Associate AIA

Recognizing the need for honoring achievements through a high form of expression, a solution was designed that aligns with the organization’s commitment to design excellence and the design professionals it represents. The solution is a low-tech approach to trophy hardware that provides an unpretentious yet refined piece from one material and one detail.

Jury Comments: Clean, simple, smart. Incredibly simple move with a material that speaks to our role of architects in the built environment.



Niobrara Valley Preserve Learning Center, The Nature Conservancy, Johnstown, Neb.

The nature Learning Center is a two-story new construction project that will bring updated capabilities and amenities to the nature preservation campus in the historic Niobrara Scenic River Valley. The goal is to provide a building that is sensitive to the environment, durable to all manner of natural hazards, and celebratory of the beautiful site it sits upon. The project is also dictated by strict ordinances governing the placement and size of buildings along the river corridor.