Congratulations to New Principal, Ed Vidlak!

BVH Architecture is pleased to announce that Ed Vidlak has been promoted to a Principal of the firm. Ed’s passion for design, professionalism and leadership has complemented the BVH studio well. His experience regionally and internationally, brings additional depth and expertise to the firm’s design portfolio. Ed’s commitment and experience with higher education positions him as a skillful leader and broadens expertise for BVH. You will find Ed earnestly supporting all firm business strategies throughout the Nebraska and Colorado studios.

“The concentration of talent, the dedication to excellence in design and client service, and the shared commitment to solutions that inspire and lift the human spirit are the things that are at the heart of BVH’s practice culture,” Ed shared. “I’m truly grateful to be part of such a remarkable group and to be aligned with the clients and contractors who are making positive differences in the communities we serve.”

While Ed is largely focused on supporting and leading the firm’s Higher Education practice and portfolio, he also supports other market sectors and business development strategies for the Nebraska and Colorado studios.

Learn more about Ed at or reach him via email at

The 2021 AIA Nebraska Excellence in Design Awards!

This past Friday, AIA Nebraska held its annual Excellence in Design Gala, and BVH was honored to be recognized for several projects and staff achievements.

Bridge::Park was honored with a People’s Choice Award

Crete Library was recognized with an Architectural Merit Award.

The Nature Conservancy was recognized with an Architectural Honor Award.

Beyond these design honors, several BVH staffer’s were recognized for their achievements in the profession.

Mark Bacon for his 2021 AIA National Young Architects Award;

Andrew Conzett for his 2021 AIA Nebraska Young Architects Award; and

Phuong Nguyen for her appointment to the AIA National Next to Lead program.

Phuong Nguyen Named to AIA Next to Lead Program

We are proud to share that Phuong Nguyen has been chosen to take part in the first AIA Next to Lead program. From the AIA, “Claiming a seat at the leadership table requires first getting a foot in the door. AIA’s new leadership program, Next to Lead, is designed to guide ethnically diverse women through every step in the process.   With its focus on association leadership and management, and a strong networking component, Next to Lead not only identifies the pathways to leadership; it is a pathway to leadership. By joining, participants take concrete steps in elevating their careers to the next level.”

Phuong is one of 17 women chosen for this first program which, “is the first program of its kind to support association leadership for ethnically diverse women aspiring to be leaders of the AIA. Candidates were selected by jurors from AIA’s Equity and the Future of Architecture Committee (EQFA) who conducted a blind review of applications and reference letters.”

Further, “Next to Lead is a two-phase program, launching Oct. 15, which will be followed by an online curriculum and monthly virtual sessions focusing on association leadership during 2022. In the second phase, participants will work on a collaborative project developed with a local or state component or a knowledge-based group within the AIA.”

We are excited to see Phuong take part in such an exceptional opportunity.

When it comes to flooring for your school, how do you make the right choice?

Let’s be honest. Out of all the finish materials that go into a school, the most performance is expected out of flooring. It has to hold up to high foot traffic, but be easy to maintain. It needs to be beautiful, even reflecting a school’s branding, and stain resistant, which is a challenge given that even middle schoolers now drink coffee. On top of this, the product must be affordable. All of these concerns make it difficult to select flooring among the ever changing options. 

The design professionals at BVH constantly research flooring options and take many factors into consideration when recommending the best flooring type for a new school or renovation project: durability, maintenance, design options, sustainability and price. Following is not an exhaustive list of flooring options, but excellent choices to keep in mind.

Epoxy Terrazzo



Many BVH projects involve historic buildings, and it doesn’t take a scientific study to recognize that terrazzo stands the test of time. Schools built over fifty years ago have terrazzo corridors that can be polished to near newness. While historic buildings used cementitious terrazzo, new installations are typically epoxy terrazzo. The epoxy products are thinner (¼ to ⅜”), can be installed over a new or existing concrete slab and polished the day after they are poured. It is possible to match the epoxy base to school colors, and create intricate designs with the metal dividers. Maintenance is easy and low-cost, involving only dusting, mopping and occasional re-sealing. The greatest deterrent to using epoxy terrazzo is the upfront cost, but over its life cycle it is an excellent investment for a school.

Rubber Flooring



Rubber flooring is often reserved for stairwells, but is an excellent option for corridors as well. Tiles or rolls in a variety of color options are available. Made from a renewable resource, newly laid rubber flooring is considered sustainable and is recyclable at the end of its usefulness. It has better cushioning, slip-resistance and sound absorption than terrazzo or concrete. The maintenance protocol is simple–vacuuming, mopping and periodic auto-scrubbing, but must be done regularly to avoid a dingy appearance. Schools can expect at least 20 years of performance from rubber flooring. Like epoxy terrazzo, it is more expensive than products such as VCT or LVT but is longer lasting and better performing.


Nebraska Center for Advanced Professional Studies


Concrete is becoming increasingly popular for corridors in modern schools. There is a misconception that it is an inexpensive, maintenance-free option, though. Polished concrete is costly due to the additional labor involved and sealed concrete requires regular re-sealing. It can cause acoustical issues, is prone to cracking and is hard under foot. Given all these ‘cons’ you may wonder why anyone opts for it. All things considered, concrete is extremely durable, is already a part of the project and requires little day-to-day maintenance. For a modern aesthetic, there are few products that match its natural beauty.


Gerald W. Kirn Middle School


Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) has become the go-to replacement for Vinyl Composition Tile (VCT). It is inexpensive and easier to maintain than VCT, given that it does not require any sealers or buffing. It is typically manufactured in planks or square tiles, so if a tile is scratched or damaged, a single tile can be replaced. Recent advances in digital printing have increased the number of patterns and colors available–even making custom options possible. The downside of the product is that it is not sustainable and has a significantly shorter lifespan. The product allows a school to get a new floor at a great price, but a plan for replacement should be considered in seven to ten years.

Textile Composite Flooring



A newer product option for schools is Textile Composite Flooring. One example is the Kinetex brand from J & J Flooring. It is a cross between LVT and carpet–imagine carpet without any pile. The ‘pros’ for this product are considerable: durable, easy to maintain, slip-resistant, sound-absorbing and sustainable (made from plastic water bottles). It prices out similarly to LVT, but is easier to maintain. Also, it can be used in classrooms as well as corridors, giving the space seamless transitions. Because it is a newer product, the design options are somewhat limited, but that will likely change as it grows in popularity.

Whether you are starting a ground-up building project or quick renovation, BVH can help you select products that meet your goals for the space. Fortunately there are a variety of beautiful, high-performance flooring options at every price point.



Andrew Conzett Recognized as AIA Nebraska 2021 Young Architect

We’re excited to share that Andrew Conzett has been recognized as this year’s AIA Nebraska Young Architect.


Recognizes an AIA Nebraska member, licensed less than 10 years who has shown exceptional leadership and made significant contributions to the profession in the areas of design, education, and or service in an early stage of their architectural career. Must be nominated by an AIA Nebraska member.

Andrew M. Conzett, AIA, is a young architect and designer with a passion for exploring the complex challenges and opportunities that are present within the profession of architecture. Recognized early in his career as an accomplished designer and architect, Conzett has been responsible for leading and carrying out the design for numerous projects including residential, corporate, civic, and design-build art projects that have expanded design discourse within the community. Conzett pairs his design talents and experience with a commitment to community service through his participation on local and regional boards related to arts, culture, education and professional development. Conzett’s unique combination of artistic acumen and tireless commitment to extending the architect’s role more effectively into the community are extraordinary examples worthy of recognition.

We are so proud of Andrew for this very well-deserved recognition!

APT Symposium: Challenges with Preserving the Stainless Steel Skin of the Gateway Arch in St Louis, Missouri

Julie Cawby, Dan Worth, and Steve Kelley will be presenting at this year’s APT International Conference on October 25. Their session will focus on the Conservation Management Report they produced for the Gateway Arch, focused on the thoughtful preservation of the Arch’s steel skin. See their abstract below and find the full list of sessions and registration information here.

The Gateway Arch in St Louis presents numerous challenges: its sheer size and height; the use of modern metals and welding techniques; its need to remain open and intimately accessible; to name a few. These challenges were addressed in a recent Conservation Management Plan (CMP), partially funded through a grant from the Getty Conservation Institute in cooperation with the National Park Service and administered by the Association for Preservation Technology. The study includes selectively cleaning and refinishing the monument without affecting the overall appearance. We would like the opportunity to present our research as a responsibility to the funders and the preservation community.

The Gateway Arch National Park was the first major national park development in the US after World War II and a turning point from the rustic to a more modern style of architecture. Its centerpiece, the 630 ft (192 m) tall Gateway Arch, is significant due to its architectural and engineering design and the role it played in the career of architect Eero Saarinen. The Gateway Arch was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987 and retains a high degree of authenticity.

In 1947, Eero Saarinen entered the architectural design competition for the design of a monument. His winning entry was one of the first major designs Saarinen completed on his own and seen by some as his greatest contribution to American modern architecture. The design of the Gateway Arch is based on a weighted catenary. It is constructed of double-wall carbon steel and stainless steel triangular segments that reduce in size as they approach the apex. This stressed metal double skin carries the structural loads, eliminating the need for interior framing. The stainless steel panels are completely inter-welded and make up the exterior skin contributing to the overall character of the Arch. The reflectivity of the material is an important aspect of the Arch’s design, and the quality of the machined finishes adds to the overall character of the Arch.

Visitors can touch the monument where it meets the ground and experience its abstract simplicity close up. Consequently, there are body oils, perspiration and chemical pollutants from touching by hand, soiling collected on these residues, and graffiti either incised, etched or pounded into the stainless steel. The Gateway Arch has blemishes that were caused during fabrication and erection has also become soiled at unreachable heights.

The study focuses on cleaning and refinishing the stainless steel skin and avant garde measures studied to access the monument high above the ground.

Learning Objectives:

Learn more about Embodied Carbon

When: 12 p.m. CT, September 14

A critical issue in today’s built environment is reducing carbon emissions. The embodied carbon of building materials can be equivalent to the CO2 lifetime emissions from building operations. To evaluate these impacts projects can utilize LCA tools such as One-Click LCA and Tally to complete whole building life cycle assessment (WBLCA) during design and materials selection to reduce embodied carbon. This session provides an overview of these tools and WBLCA outcomes to evaluate embodied carbon.

Get Tickets

Presented by:




Amy Dishman




Tim Hemsath


Congratulations to Our Newest Associate Principals!

Matt Smith

Matt consistently gets kudos from his team for his leadership and mentoring. Matt consistently translates complex projects and schedules into manageable, achievable goals, producing results that the client, our consultants, and our internal teams are proud of. Since 2014, Matt has shown great leadership within the firm, and actively works to help staff grow. His leadership has helped BVH become the firm it is today and will continue to help shape us for years to come.

Matt Wegener

Matt joined BVH in 2002, and quickly became an invaluable member of the team. Matt’s vision and ability to manage projects smoothly has helped him form long-lasting relationships with many clients, and this skillset is one he actively teaches to other members on his team. He is a strong mentor to younger staff, and frequently looks for growth opportunities for those on his team. Matt’s voice in the leadership team and his contributions to firm marketing and business development efforts help keep BVH moving forward. 


Evaluating Environmental Impacts of Our Buildings Using Whole Building Life Cycle Assessment (WBLCA) Aids

A WBLCA measures the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of materials used to construct a building. In addition to accounting for operational energy C02 emissions, a building’s GWP is a measure of the embodied carbon from building materials. It accounts for the production of CO2 from extraction, manufacturing, transportation, installation, and maintenance of a material over the life of the building. Other categories evaluated in LCA are eutrophication, acidification, depletion of non-renewable energy, and smog formation. Eutrophication is the load of nutrients released into our waterways causing harmful effects[i]. Acidification measures the uptake of carbon into oceans increasing acidity and harm to various ocean wildlife[ii]. Nonrenewable energy sources come from the extraction of fossil fuels[iii]. Smog formation is air pollution and quantified as the amount of ground level ozone (O3)[iv] in WBLCA . Along with GWP these constitute the impact categories used in LEEDv4 Building Lifecycle Impact Reduction credit to earn points for certification.

BVH is using a range of carbon accounting tools to evaluate embodied carbon throughout design in order to reduce emissions. We see several states and federal projects requiring procurement of low-carbon materials and reductions in embodied carbon. Preparing our teams and equipping our clients with information on the impacts of embodied carbon over a building’s lifecycle helps make informed decisions and material choices. BVH’s practice and values are rooted in our philosophy of protecting and conserving historic and cultural resources avoiding carbon emissions from new construction. In addition, using WBLCA on new construction projects furthers our commitment to stewardship and people most impacted by climate change.



Congratulations to New Senior Associate, Michael Harpster

Michael is the architectural designer BVH needs to be a successful, purposeful, and design-first firm. He manages design, projects, budgets, and team, all while constantly striving to elevate our design practice. Michael’s leadership comes from informal desk critiques and ideation sessions, along with his fascinating and thought-provoking presentations that can lead to other new ideas. His design skills are extremely high and he is respected by the firm for his ability to push the midwest design boundaries through buildable design excellence. Michael’s passion in affordable housing and his ‘design for all’ mentality also showcase his design leadership that will push BVH forward for years to come. Design team members consistently commend Michael for his inclusive, motivating, and engaging design process that leads to great outcomes and a happy, motivated studio. 

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