Architect Selection Narrowed for UD Fine and Performing Arts, Worship, and Campus Center

Oct 7, 2009 | University of Dubuque Theological Seminary

Since the University's announcement in May 2009 of its plans to take the next steps in the development of a Fine and Performing Arts, Worship, and Campus Center, an architect selection process has been underway. The $40 million project ($30 million for construction and $10 million in endowment for programming and operations), will strengthen academic programs in Fine and Performing Arts, create a place in which students and faculty can gather as a community, and serve as a regional cultural center, becoming the heart of University life.

"We are very grateful to Tom Osland, principal of Oslund and Associates, our campus planning group, for his careful counsel to the committee as we have reviewed the work of an outstanding group of national and international architectural firms," commented University President Jeffrey F. Bullock. "A project of this scope and of such importance to the future of the University requires that we select and retain architects who are attuned to their client's needs, to maximizing the value of each dollar invested, and to creating a campus icon that is, in itself, an art object. And in the end, we look forward to a new campus facility that will serve as a teaching, learning, performing, and gathering place for the University community for decades to come."

With the guidance of Tom Oslund, and with the approval of the Board of Trustees, the University narrowed an initial pool of fifty potential architectural firms who have the experience and capacity to design a project of this scope to fifteen, and finally to five. Those five - boora of Portland, Oregon; Gund Partnership of Cambridge, Massachusetts; Lake Flato - Occam of San Antonio, Texas; Lundgaard & Tranberg of Copenhagen, Denmark; and Pelli Clarke Pelli of New Haven, Connecticut - were invited to the campus to present their portfolios on Thursday, August 13, 2009.

boora (Portland, Oregon) specializes in the design of performing arts facilities for civic and higher education clients. Established in 1958, they have been recognized nationally not only for the quality of their work, but for the innovative ways they have supported the arts in their own community. Practicing in a region recognized for its leadership in sustainable design, boora has also been a national leader in the design of highly sustainable and energy efficient buildings. Their work includes buildings on 50 campuses throughout the world including: Scripps College Music Building & Performing Arts Center, University of Oregon School of Music and Dance, University of California-Davis Mondavi Center for the Arts, and the Stanford University Yang and Yamazaki Environment and Energy Building.

Gund Partnership (Cambridge, Massachusetts) is a nationally recognized architecture and planning firm working with leading institutions across the country to design transformative buildings. Founded in 1971, the firm has earned more than 100 regional and national awards for design excellence. The core of their practice is centered on collaboration - expressing mission, philosophy, and community in a wide range of planning and design assignments. College and University Performing & Visual Arts projects include: University of Massachusetts Amherst Studio Arts Building, Kenyon College Music Building, Davidson College Visual Arts Center, Macalester College Fine and Performing Arts Center, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.

Lake Flato (San Antonio, Texas), established in 1984, has gained national recognition for architecture that is rooted to its place and successfully merges with the landscape. In all, Lake|Flato's work has been recognized with 43 national awards (including the AIA's Honor Award in 1992, 1997, 1999 and 2007) and 50 state awards. Their work on college and university campuses includes the Art Building & Gallery at the University of Texas at Austin, the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts at the University of Houston, Prim Library at Sierra Nevada College, and The Prindle Institute for Ethics at DePauw University. 
Lundgaard & Tranberg (Copenhagen, Denmark) is a leading Danish architectural office, practicing architecture, urbanism, landscape, product, and furniture design. Over the past 20 years, they have positioned themselves as one of Denmark's most renowned and award-winning architectural group. In addition to being known for innovative and original architecture, they have established a reputation for leadership and collaboration in project realization. For three years running, the office has received the prestigious RIBA European Award' from the Royal Institute of British Architects; in 2006 for the Copenhagen Business School faculty building, in 2007 for the Tietgen Dormitory, and in 2008 for the new Royal Playhouse in Copenhagen. 

Pelli Clarke Pelli (New Haven, Connecticut) has had the honor of designing many of the world's most recognizable buildings, including the World Financial Center in New York, the Petronas Towers in Malaysia, and the International Finance Center in Hong Kong. Founded in 1977, their portfolio includes academic buildings, libraries, museums, research centers, residences and master plans. They have been a leader in environmentally sustainable design for over a decade. Their contemporary, broadly resonant, and optimistic designs have been honored with numerous design awards, including the American Institute of Architects' most prestigious honor for an architectural practice, the Firm Award.

After the five selected architects were given the opportunity to make their presentations, two firms have been selected as finalists. Later this month and in and November, President Bullock and a small group from the architect selection committee will visit the offices of both boora and Lundgaard & Tranberg as well as tour a number of their previous projects. Following those visits, the architect selection committee will make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees for their approval.