Architecture Hall expansion honors HDR collaboration


Troy Fedderson, April 19, 2024

Architecture Hall expansion honors HDR collaboration

The expansion of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s iconic Architecture Hall will honor a longstanding collaboration with HDR, an Omaha-based architecture/engineering firm.

Currently under construction, the new addition of Architecture Hall will be named HDR Pavilion. The name, unanimously approved by the University of Nebraska Board of Regents on April 19, honors HDR’s undisclosed gift to the project and the firm’s deep connection to the College of Architecture and generations of alumni.

“This is a tremendous investment by HDR into our College of Architecture and its students,” said Chancellor Rodney D. Bennett. “Our experiences are shaped by the environments in which we live, work and grow, and HDR Pavilion is a leading example of how collaborations with industry leaders can enrich UNL’s educational experience.”

HDR Pavilion is on the north side of Architecture Hall. When the space opens in fall 2024, it will have multiple positive impacts on the student experience, including the expansion and renovation of an existing lecture hall and the addition of 14 new studio spaces, adjoining classrooms and indoor and outdoor collaboration spaces for students to work with each other, instructors and industry partners.

The pavilion will feature a resilient, mass timber structure. The exposed wood structure and infrastructure will provide students with embedded learning opportunities in mass timber design and construction, which is increasingly a preferred construction method in Nebraska and around the world.

A portion of HDR’s gift will provide funding for courtyard enhancements, a roof deck terrace and a deployable wall in the lobby that will allow the space to accommodate multiple uses.

“Naming the HDR Pavilion is a testament to HDR’s unwavering support for Nebraska’s College of Architecture, our faculty and our students,” said Kevin Van Den Wymelenberg, dean of the College of Architecture. “This expansion will spark innovation, inspire creativity and collaboration, and help our faculty and growing student body to design and build a brighter future.”

Founded in 1917 in Omaha, HDR has grown to be a global architectural, engineering and consulting firm. HDR has regularly collaborated with UNL on a wide range of projects, including campus buildings, research initiatives and educational programs. The firm also has a long history of recruiting UNL graduates into its employment ranks.

“With generations of alumni in integral roles at all levels at HDR, from interns to company leaders, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Architecture significantly contributes to our top-ranked, award-winning practice,” said Doug Wignall, architecture president at HDR. “This new addition will greatly enhance the spaces students have to design and create. It also provides HDR an opportunity to give back to a program that has made such a positive impact on our firm.”

HDR Pavilion is the second half of a two-phase renovation to the home of the College of Architecture. The update is funded through a combination of private donations and deferred building maintenance legislation (LB384) approved by the Nebraska Legislature.

Phase one, which included shifting the Architecture Hall library and upgrades to studio spaces, was implemented by Alley Poyner Macchietto Architecture, the Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. and University Facilities, Planning and Capital Programs.

Development of the second phase expansion was led by HDR, Boston’s NADAAA and the Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. HDR’s gift to the project was made through the University of Nebraska Foundation as part of Only in Nebraska: A Campaign for Our University’s Future, a historic effort to engage 150,000 benefactors to raise $3 billion for the University of Nebraska.

“Sparked by significant enrollment growth in our college, the expansion of Architecture Hall has received incredible support from leaders on campus, across Nebraska and within the industry,” Van Den Wymelenberg said. “It is a project that will move our college forward, helping us better prepare the next generation of designers, planners and innovators to create a more resilient, healthy and beautiful world.”

Architecture Industry Partners