October 5, 2012

Four Projects Win AIA Design Awards

RDG Planning & Design is honored with two awards at the 2012 Fall AIA Iowa convention in Des Moines, Iowa, and two awards at the 2012 AIA Nebraska convention in Lincoln, Nebraska. Projects recognized for their excellence in design are the University of Iowa's Campus Recreation & Wellness Center, The World Food Prize - Hall of Laureates, Goodwill Headquarters and Retail Store, and Fort Calhoun Elementary School.

The Campus Recreation & Wellness Center, receiving an Honor Award, emphasizes physical fitness as an ongoing "Lifestyle" where people "Play" for health and wellness and "Play" for vitality of life in very open and transparent atmosphere.

Comments from the jury include "... handsome sports and education facility ... managed to tame the visual complexity of a sports environment, with all the equipment and graphics into a cohesive experience." This facility boasts 20,000 square feet of fitness space over three levels, a 52 ½ foot climbing wall, a 50-meter competitive swimming pool, an 18 foot deep diving well, a Leisure Swimming Pool, a jogging track, and many other amenities that make it a dynamic space.

The Goodwill Headquarters in Omaha, an AIA Honor Award winner, was designed to fully embrace the Goodwill mission to change lives and strengthen communities.



RDG rehabilitated an abandoned big-box retail store into two separate yet connected spaces. Approximately half the building is a retail store serving the community. The remaining space provides a skills development and training center which offers young adults the opportunity to earn their GED and acquire vocational skills; as well as offices and meeting spaces to support the operation and growth of the company. A minimalist design aesthetic with open spaces encourage collaboration, and environmental graphics tell the story of hope by signifying the collection of individuals working together for the greater good.


The World Food Prize - Hall of Laureates, received a Sustainable Design Merit Award being recognized for its historic renovation and sensitive integration of systems. Done in the classic Beaux Arts style that was popular at the turn of the 20th century, the building was part of the City's original 'City Beautiful' movement. Today, the building is on the National Register of Historic Places, is seeking LEED Platinum Certification and is once again an important part of the City's revitalization plan as a major focal point on the new Riverwalk.

Sustainable information on The World Food Prize Building

Hidden in the humble neighborhood of a rural town, the AIA Honor Award winner Fort Calhoun Elementary School addition and remodel sought to renew an architectural paradigm in the district last challenged in the 1970s.


The school had become overcrowded and outdated both in terms of systems and amenities. This project created new classrooms, restrooms and meeting spaces, and improved the functionality and appearance of the existing spaces. Security and the ability to monitor visitors was a major issue also addressed in this endeavor. Embracing the frontier history of the area, the architecture utilized stained cedar and long bands of glass, reminiscent of the wood construction of the fort.