Dinsdale Family Learning Commons wins Nebraska’s highest architecture design award

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Dinsdale Family Learning Commons wins Nebraska’s highest architecture design award

Students work in the Dinsdale Family Learning Commons on East Campus.
DLR Group
Students work in the Dinsdale Family Learning Commons, The space opened in January.

The American Institute of Architects’ Nebraska chapter presented DLR Group its highest design honor for the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Dinsdale Family Learning Commons.

DLR Group received the the 2021 AIA Nebraska Excellence in Design Architecture Honor Award for the design. It is the highest honor given by the architectural community in the state and aims to recognize “the commitment the client/stakeholders, design team and construction partners have to a project’s Vision, Success and Execution.”

The extensive $22.5 million renovation revitalized and completely changed the landscape of the university’s East Campus.

“The designers rigorously studied the existing architecture, amplified its strengths, corrected its deficiencies, and then strategically intervened with a light but powerful touch to bring natural light all the way to the basement and create visual connections between interior spaces. The exterior and interior interventions transform the building into a celebration of learning for those both in and around it” commented the jury of four professionals working for prestigious architecture firms across the United States.

“We are thrilled that the DLR Group received this award for their design work of the Dinsdale Family Learning Commons,” said Claire Stewart, dean of the University Libraries. “The entire team from the libraries, facilities, construction companies, and DLR, deserve this recognition.”

The 48,000-plus-square-foot building has witnessed a surge of use, welcoming more than 40,000 visitors since opening in January 2021. Offering sweeping views of the campus, the design takes inspiration from both nature and the agriculturally focused campus incorporating rich natural tones throughout.

The design team for the Dinsdale Family Learning Commons included DLR Group, Nebraska Foundation, Gale Warren, the University of Nebraska interior designer, Joe Goodwater, the project manager, the former Dean of Libraries Nancy Busch, Deb Pearson, the former head of libraries facilities planning, as well as current libraries administration, faculty, and staff.

The University Libraries’ space offers students a wide range of spaces to study, including quiet and active spaces, six group study spaces, a Dunkin Donuts, HuskerTech services, East Campus Exam Commons and a curated book collection featuring over 30,000 items. The Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program occupies two-thirds of the second floor, with five classrooms, a makerspace and other facilities.

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