Projects Honored with AIA Nebraska Awards

BVH Architecture was recently honored with four awards from the Nebraska Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. We’re excited to share that the St. John Paul II Newman Center won an Honor award in the Masonry category, Eagle Ridge at Chadron State College won an Honor Award in the Architecture category, Wisner-Pilger won an Honor Award in the Architecture category and  M’s Pub won a People’s Choice in the Interior Architecture category..

For the Archdiocese of Omaha the unique challenge was to create intelligently crafted spaces that support day-to-day student activities, a rectory for the priests along with an oratory to serve as the spiritual nexus. Drawing inspiration from monastic programs, the design respects the traditions and rituals intrinsic to the Catholic faith without connection to a conventional vocabulary of construction or past architectural styles. The programs revolve around the unifying courtyard to endow the oratory and provide a place of contemplation and communal connection. The jury commented that, “[the] limestone masonry for this well considered sacred space is thoughtfully deployed and carefully detailed to create a strong spatial sequence from outside to inside.”

To accommodate the growth of Chadron State College, the administration desired a new student housing option, the first since the 1960s. A parcel of grassland east of campus is master planned as a student-housing neighborhood complete with outdoor amenities and a community building to support indoor activities. In contrast to most residence halls that house hundreds of students, Eagle Ridge is home to only 23 students per building to support communal living and the development of social soft skills. The housing units are set close together, creating common areas to help foster relationships between students and the community. Pathways meander between the buildings connecting the houses to the larger campus network while also creating fire breaks to safeguard the property. The jury noted how, “the project draws on elements from the local vernacular and distills them into essential architectonic elements of plinth, shroud and porch and reimagines how they can contribute positively to the student’s daily lives.”

After a tornado devastated Pilger, Nebraska, in 2014, BVH Architecture defined an educational strategy to recover the 5th & 6th grade campus. From our process, a PK-6 model emerged, creating an accessible and adaptable core of specialized education spaces to compliment surrounding classrooms. This model was inspired by the specific educational approach Wisner-Pilger utilizes. Inside, upper elementary classrooms feature breakout spaces to allow dynamic class settings to merge with adjacent student groups. Unique core spaces are highlighted with materials that add visual texture and depth, as well as opportunities for displaying student work. Several metal panels are laser cut with designs inspired by language, math, local topography and the solar system. Here, “the jury appreciated the project’s thoughtful detailing inside and out which results in light filled gathering and circulation spaces for young students.”

M’s Pub was originally designed by Architects Hartman, Morford, Bowen. It was constructed in 1972 for owner Mary Vogel in a four-story warehouse structure in Omaha’s historic Old Market. M’s quickly became an Old Market icon and a favorite dining destination for many Omahans. In January 2016, a gas line explosion and ensuing fire destroyed M’s Pub and much of the Mercer Building, leaving a burned-out shell. In late 2016, owner Ann Mellen decided to rebuild M’s Pub. Fortunately, the original plans were found, and after a year of construction, a new, but remarkably similar, M’s Pub reopened in November 2017.

BVH congratulates everyone who worked on these projects, with many thanks to our partners, consultants, and especially our clients. For more information on these and other BVH projects, visit BVH.com.