Category Archives: Architects and Architecture

In Appreciation of Quiet Dedication and Leadership



Robert Ripley, AIA

Bryce Hastings photo

Bryce Hastings, AIA

All too often when significant accomplishments are achieved we have no idea of how much quiet dedication and leadership was required in the effort. A number of years ago Bryce Hastings, AIA, instead of quietly retiring, took on the challenge of serving as the President of the Nebraska Architectural Foundation. He has done an exceptional job of reviving and accomplishing the Foundation’s mission and goals. His quiet dedication and leadership began with the identification of critical topics and assuring that each activity was accomplished.

One of the most monumentally significant has been his leadership and partnership with Bob Ripley, AIA, the Director of the Office of the Capitol Commission, in securing content, resources and the filming of the NET production of Nebraska’s Capitol Masterpiece, which unfolds the complex history and cultural value of the Capitol for all Nebraskans. (The documentary is now available for streaming online.)

Bob Ripley in his own quiet manner has dedicated his career to the conservation and preservation of this masterpiece in every detail on a daily basis. This invaluable story could not have been developed without Bob’s exceptional knowledge and would not have been told if it had not been for the vision, dedication and persistent quiet leadership of both individuals. Although all of us are always very busy with our professional and personal lives we all owe our deepest appreciation to their quiet dedication and leadership.

Bertram Goodhue’s Intent Honored



Rendering of proposed courtyard update. Image courtesy of the Nebraska Capitol Commission

Rendering of proposed courtyard update. Image courtesy of the Nebraska Capitol Commission

Nebraska lawmakers voted to override Gov. Dave Heineman’s vetoes of state budget items, including funding for four bronze courtyard fountains and a new heating system at the Nebraska State Capitol.

The 37-11 vote came days after the Governor announced that he had trimmed $65 million from the Legislature’s updated budget package. Heineman singled out the $2.5 million fountain project as a less important priority than state-funded property tax relief.

Many private fundraising efforts for the fountains have occurred over the years and have been unsuccessful.  Senator John Nelson of Omaha, who introduced LB 797, said the state is now able to finish the project and if lawmakers hadn’t acted, it could have been postponed indefinitely.

The fountains would mark the completion of architect Bertram Goodhue’s original design. They were originally expected to sit in each of the building’s four open-air courtyards, but the work was halted because of the Great Depression. With the new funding, construction is expected to be completed just before Nebraska celebrates its 150th anniversary as a state in 2017.

Zoo School


Henry Doorly Zoo Conservation Academy sketch, image courtesy of DLR Group.

Henry Doorly Zoo Conservation Academy sketch, image courtesy of DLR Group.

DLR Group in association with CLR Design was recently selected to work with the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo to program, plan and design a facility that they will call the Conservation Academy.

This project will integrate indoor and outdoor facilities that will provide educational opportunities that will support their Pre-school – Kindergarten education programs as well as their high school education program.  The Pre-K to 8 year old outdoor education facilities will also be available to zoo visitors.

This project will support the Zoo’s Education Mission. Engaging children with nature has been the subject of many recent books and studies that have identified a “nature deficit” in that children appear to be losing touch with the natural world around them.  The Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo intends to make a difference in this area and be a leader among North American zoological institutions.

Cool Spaces!


Steven Chung, AIA, interviewing Frank Geary, FAIA.  Photo courtesy of Cool Spaces!

Steven Chung, AIA, interviewing Frank Geary, FAIA. Photo courtesy of Cool Spaces!

If you receive the AIArchitect emails from the AIA, you may have seen this article from March 21, 2014, entitled “Cool Spaces! Premiers on PBS in April.”  You can view the article here:

The show will investigate the design process through specific building types.  “Cool Spaces!, hosted by Stephen Chung, AIA, will explore how architects and their clients use innovative technology and practiced design traditions to shape the world around us. Equally interested in the design process and the design product, the program will demystify the work that architects do for a general audience, helping to build awareness of how an architect’s hand can improve and refine nearly every aspect of the built environment.”

Intrigued, I looked to see when we can watch in Nebraska, but there are currently no air dates set for NET Nebraska (  We’ll keep an eye out and post an update when we hear more.

In the meantime, you can watch the trailer here:

And, you can visit the Cool Spaces! website here:


Nebraska’s Capitol in the news



If you read the Lincoln Journal Star newspaper, you may have caught the article in the Sunday, January 12 edition showcasing some beautiful photos of the Nebraska State Capitol building.  The article, entitled “Look up: Inside Nebraska’s stately statehouse” was written by Kathryn Cates Moore.  It lists some of the favorite details in the building of Roxanne Smith, tourism supervisor in the Office of the Capitol Commission, along with the photos.

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