The Nebraska branch of the American Institute of Architects awarded the College of Architecture four honors at the 2020 AIA Nebraska Excellence in Design Awards Ceremony held Nov. 6. From the 10 awards given by the jury, three were for projects designed by or with university students.
At the ceremony, AIA presented an Interior Architecture honor award for the Bemis LOW END project by the University of Nebraska–Lincoln FACT studio, Jeffrey L. Day, FAIA, Actual Architecture, and Sean Ward; an Unbuilt Design Honor Award for the Sheridan County 4H Fairgrounds by FACT Studio, Day, FAIA and Actual Architecture; and a Built and Unbuilt Honor Award for thesis project Behind Closed Doors by Hannah Schafers.
Day, professor of architecture, and his firm, Actual Architecture Co., were also awarded an Architecture honor for Wanaka Wedge House.
Schafers’ Behind Closed Doors thesis project explores interior-exterior slippages of a mundane roadside motel. The project amplifies eerie qualities of the motel by allowing the interior to follow its own logic while preserving the familiar structure of the envelope.
Sheridan County 4H Fairgrounds project is a follow-up to FACT’s spring 2018 project with the Sandhills Institute in nearby Rushville, Nebraska. The studio’s project partner, the Sheridan County 4H Foundation, sought a master plan with new and repurposed buildings to replace disconnected existing structures in disrepair on the County Fairgrounds in Gordon, Nebraska. Representing a cross-disciplinary collaboration of master of architecture students and undergraduates from architecture, interior design and landscape architecture, the team comprised of Ashley Glesinger, Paige Haskett, Jerry Philbin and Andres Villegas.
The LOW END submission from the multi-disciplinary, Fall 2018 FACT studio and Actual Architecture Co. is a performance space for sound art and experimental music located at Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, Nebraska, and part of a unique new residency program for artists pushing the boundaries of sound, composition, voice and music. Students who worked on the LOW END design/build project during the fall 2018 semester are: Justin DeFields, Maren Elnes, Craig Findlay, Robert Grebl, Seth Hadenfeldt, Qingyuan Han, A.J. Hicks, Monica Hughes, Audrey Lanik, Jiaji Li, Saray Martinez, Rachel Richter, Morgan Ronspies, Andrew Rose and Kristina Schneider.
“These AIA Nebraska awards affirm our goals for the FACT studio, where students work in cross-disciplinary teams to co-design projects with faculty,” Day said. “The fact our studio can garner multiple awards demonstrates that our collaborative approach yields design proposals that hold their own among the best architects in the region.”
Ashley Glesinger, master of architect student, said it was exciting to have the 4H Foundation project earn recognition outside of the university.
“The award is testament to the relevancy and importance of the issues addressed by the studio and our Sheridan County collaborators,” Glesinger said.
The Wanaka Wedge House project was built in New Zealand and featured on the television series Grand Designs New Zealand. Day describes the design as complimenting the dramatic Central Otago landscape. Designed for professional musicians, the geometric-primitive exterior form belies a complex and playful interior. Custom-milled, locally-farmed eucalyptus wraps certain floors, walls and ceilings to separate public and private spaces and lend warmth and dimension.
“It is very gratifying when a design captures the essence of a client’s desires but also compliments the landscape through its simplistic form and beauty,” Day said. “I’m very pleased with how the project turned out and how it has been received by my peers and the design community.”
The Wanaka Wedge House was recently published in the November/December issue of NZ Life and Leisure and will be featured in Dwell Magazine in early 2021.
The 2020 AIA Nebraska Excellence in Design Awards Ceremony is an annual event that recognizes outstanding area architecture. The AIA Nebraska Excellence in Design Awards have been developed to encourage and recognize excellence in architecture, to elevate public awareness and to recognize the architects, consultants, contractors and owners whose efforts enhance the built environment.
Entries were judged based on a variety of features, including unique design, originality, extended use attributes, sustainability and use of environmental surroundings.