Discovery

A place to share our ideas, expertise, and lessons learned.

Architecture After School – Shaping Our Community Together

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Omaha facilitated the “Architecture After School” program with 12 Omaha Public School students from Gilder Elementary School in Bellevue, Nebraska. This program sponsored by RDG, AIA Nebraska Omaha, Kaneko, and Kids Can consisted of eight weekly after school training sessions on discovering architecture and design through Nebraska nature, history, exploration, drawing exercises, and hands-on building activities. 

Towards the end of the program, the class ventured on a “featured project” to the First Street Plaza Pavilion in Papillion, which reflects a nature pavilion in Gilder Park. With shaded tables and a large water feature, First Street Plaza was a great spot to stop and relax in the downtown area.…

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What Preservation Means to RDG

For RDG, preservation means finding and expressing meaning through new approaches to maintain historic buildings and districts for future generations. We work in this field to contribute to society, because we believe society is enhanced by carrying forward physical representations of our past.…

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Designing a Revitalized Community

A community isn’t magically revitalized by spiffing up a building or two. Creative vision, thoughtful planning, and revived key places and structures can impress and energize locals and visitors alike, enhancing pride of place and making further changes seem not just possible, but desirable.…

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The Dam Plan – A Place For All

There has been an urgent call recently to connect people back to natural places, especially in urban settings. Research shows people are more likely to advocate and care for their environment when they have a strong attachment to a place. In Des Moines, one of the greatest resources we have—the reason the city is located here in the first place—is the confluence of the Des Moines and Raccoon Rivers, which flow through the metro and connect south of Principal Park.…

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Clear Strategic Principles to Planning

This is first in a series of articles sharing insights from our work with St. Cloud State University’s (SCSU’s) Comprehensive Facilities Planning process – a rich experience, full of learning for all!

It’s a basic tenet of planning that clear, aligned, strategic principles, articulated and understood from the highest level and throughout an institution, are foundational for a successful plan.…

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Creative Placemaking: Storytelling About People and Culture

The term “Creative Placemaking” has become one of those overused phrases or buzzwords that has either lost its meaning, or perhaps, never achieved the significant denotation that would help establish a common language. How did this happen? So often, we begin to categorize and label, to help us talk about concepts that aren’t always so easy to understand.…

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What’s So Special About that Farmhouse?

And what does it take to preserve its history?

The one and a half story, wood-framed structure sits just off Highway 141, south of Coon Rapids, Iowa. It could be a farmhouse on almost any Iowa country road: unassuming, practical, a cobbled-together mass of additions and renovations that has served hard working farm families through the years.…

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When there’s too much and not enough

In 2014, St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minnesota had too much, and not enough. Like many institutions of higher education, SCSU found itself with too much aging infrastructure competing for limited deferred maintenance dollars, too much capital wrapped up in facilities that didn’t meet current and future needs, and – maybe surprisingly – just too much real estate.…

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Why Does a City Invest in Restoring an Historic Property?

Hotel Maytag in Newton, IA Offers Great Reasons

“The City realized the building was going to go further downhill unless something was done. We stepped in, bought the building and began to search for a developer.”

So says Craig Armstrong, economic development specialist for the City of Newton, Iowa, about the distinctive and once-grand Hotel Maytag.…

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Historic Design Guidelines Benefit the Community

Impressive homes, churches and other historic buildings dot the Heritage Hill Historic District in Burlington, Iowa, overlooking the downtown and giving unique character to this Mississippi River town. That character can translate to visitor and tourism economic gold in a community – if property owners and community members understand both the why and the how of appropriately preserving, restoring, and/or rehabilitating historic structures.…

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