DLR GroupCapitol Campus Master Plan

DLR GroupCapitol Campus Master Plan

DLR GroupCapitol Campus Master Plan

Scope of Work

Consulting

Berggren Architects were historic preservation consultants for the Capitol Campus Master Plan authored by DLR.

Location

Lincoln, NE

History

The Capitol Campus Area may be considered to have been established with the creation of the Capitol Environs Commission in 1987.

Completion

This project was completed in 2017.

The master plan is in effect until at least 2037.

The Challenge

Berggren Architects was one of five building and planning consultants brought on to collaborate in completing a 20-year comprehensive Master Plan for Nebraska’s Capitol Campus Area. The State Building Division outlined seven distinct tasks to be completed before writing the report. These tasks encompass the entire range of the planning process: from the analysis of existing conditions to the presentation of new design schemes; from the creation of design guidelines to the implementation of designs within present-day legal, practical, and economic requirements.

In the State’s project description, the terms “historic building and site preservation” and “significant historic sites” made frequent appearances in three out of seven tasks. However, Berggren Architects had some involvement in nearly every step. In this project, historic preservation was not only an issue of serving the public or perpetuating good design. It was often also a cost-saving tool, and sometimes a legal necessity, that required serious consideration during feasibility and implementation phases of planning. Research was presented to the Planning Advisory Committee in text and graphical formats.

A look down Centennial Mall, the main public avenue to the Nebraska State Capitol.

Many businesses, offices, and state agencies and departments border this street.

Notes:

The Capitol Campus Area contains several government agencies and departments, all with different space and facility requirements.

Interviews identified several needs concerning employee growth, changing methods of work, methods of public entry and approach, security, parking, adjacency to other departments, and closeness to amenities such as food, fitness, and daycare facilities. Though undoubtedly important, space needs are often met with the disregard and demolition of old buildings in favor of new construction.

The Pershing Auditorium, which covered an entire block facing Centennial Mall and sat only two blocks from the Capitol, was a point of contention.

Once a popular venue hosting the likes of The Doors and Elvis Presley, it was now defunct and served only as storage. The need for a larger event venue had been satisfied with the new Pinnacle Bank Arena. While not listed as a historic structure, its mural is undoubtedly iconic. Though now slated for demolition, Berggren Architects was a proponent for its adaptive re-use.

Existing – Pershing Auditorium

Proposed – Pershing Auditorium with three additional floors

The Strategy

Our team worked with WRT Design, an interdisciplinary team of planners, urban designers, architects and landscape architects from Philadelphia, who acted as the lead planning firm. We also worked with DLR Group, the local planning and design firm, providing expertise on historic sites, historic design guidelines, and adaptive re-use of historic buildings.

Three historic districts and 29 historic structures were identified as being significant, these being already listed or eligible to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 13 additional structures were identified as local landmarks, as dictated by the city ordinance.

Notes:

Berggren Architects was a strong advocate for maintaining historic design standards and the re-use of existing structures.

This includes dictating new construction projects to be masonry-clad and have at least a 100-year lifespan. This is not only to honor historic design guidelines, including those listed in the Capitol Environ Design Standards or recommended by Capitol architect Bertram Goodhue, but to encourage permanent and sustainable buildings rather than disposable structures.

We encouraged the rehabilitation of old structures, such as the Telephone Building and the former Woodman Accident & Life Building, over demolition and new construction. Re-use of familiar structures helps to ensure stability in its surrounding neighborhoods. Redevelopment of other buildings would demonstrate a commitment to public-private partnership. Additionally, any historic rehabilitation projects would provide tax credits and other property tax benefits.

Our team provided design proposals for the adaptive re-use of Pershing Auditorium.

Though the building is listed to be 109,300 square feet, its structural steel frame and massive height allows the flexibility for potential reconfiguration into a four-story building. This would almost double the square footage to 191,300 square feet.

The center space would be kept open, acting as a gallery space for iconic Nebraskan figures and businesses. Facilities may include a theater, food court, and gift shop. Perimeter spaces on the upper floors would provide ample space for classrooms, presentation spaces, and supporting offices and agencies

The Results

The Capitol Campus Master Plan won the 2020 AIA Nebraska Excellence in Design, People’s Choice Award in the Regional & Urban Design Category.

While Pershing Auditorium is now due for demolition, the adaptive re-use proposals of Berggren Architects and other design firms provide an example of due diligence. The many efforts to save this iconic structure may now be archived for future historians.

The Capitol Campus Master Plan has an effective length of 20 years and is expected to guide the development of the Capitol Campus Area until at least 2037.

Opposite the State Capitol to the south, the Nebraska State Historical Society sits seven blocks to the north, bookending Centennial Mall.

Gallery

1/10

Six blocks north of the State Capitol: Centennial Mall and Q St

A small park sits next to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Journalism.

2/10

Five blocks north: Centennial Mall and P St

The Nebraska History Museum and the US District Court of Nebraska sit nearby.

3/10

Four blocks north: Centennial Mall and O St

Several downtown bars, restaurants, and shops are nearby. The green Lincoln Telephone & Telegraph microwave tower, though highly visible, is no longer in use.

4/10

Three blocks north: Centennial Mall and N St

The Pershing Auditorium mural dominates this entire block.

5/10

Two blocks north: Centennial Mall and M St

Several state agencies and the Scottish Rite Masonic Center sit nearby.

6/10

Nebraska State Capitol from the southeast corner

7/10

The Nebraska Hall of Fame, within the corridors of the Capitol second floor, holds twenty-six busts of Nebraskan historical figures.

The most recent addition was Omaha architect Thomas Rogers Kimball, inducted 2017.

8/10

The State Capitol seen from the west, through the sight line of Lincoln Mall.

Nearby buildings include several state organizations and the historic, high-rise apartment, Sky Park Manor, built as part of a Capitol Environs beautification project.

9/10

The State Capitol seen from a parking garage in the northeast

10/10

The State Capitol seen from downtown Lincoln in the northwest

More about the
Iconic Government Centers
Category

A natural niche for our firm has been county courthouses for almost 40 years. We provide the expertise needed to navigate the process of caring for these important historic structures.

Our team has experience in navigating the multitude of entities involved in preserving the historic integrity of the building while also providing for modern day needs and requirements.

All
Arts & Cultural Centers
Iconic Government Centers
Education Centers
Living Spaces
Spiritual Centers
Government Support Facilities

Our Process

We listen to you

We are preservation architects, let’s get together and talk about your project. Once we know your ideas, we can start your project in the right directions.

We involve you in the planning

Planning projects is what we do. We’ll work with you to develop the best way to implement your ideas. Our written documents are the road map which is essential to ensuring your expectations.

We make it happen

When you’re ready to implement your ideas, we’ll gather together the craftsmen and women necessary and bring your ideas to life. Architecture is in the details. We will follow your project through completion ensuring all the details meet your expectations.

What We Offer

Restoration

We offer restoration and preservation of your historic structures. Using extraordinary materials and craftsmanship, our historic structures are a lasting tribute to the people for whom they were built.

Consulting

We offer consulting services to both general clients and professional clients in sharing our knowledge and expertise in the area of historic preservation. Our master planning and preservation planning prepares our clients to be better able to plan for the life of their historic structures and districts.

New Construction

We know the meaning of sustainability because of our in-depth work with structures which have stood the test of time. We offer sustainable and green new construction which is historically sympathetic, including in the form of additions.

Our Team

Principal, Preservation Architect

Jerry L. Berggren, AIA

Production Manager

Garry Martin

Contract Consultant

Farheen Sirajuddin

Architectural Historian

Janet Jeffries

Architectural Intern

Alexi Caines

Media Production Manager

Kameron Dadgostar

Staff Architect

Leroy Svatora, AIA

Media Production Intern

Grace Shepherd

Architectual Student Intern

Sharon Guchu

Operations Manager

Jess Larsen

Architectural Production Staff

Brennan Deboer

Architectural Student Intern

Kenzie Prauner

Principal, Preservation Architect

Jerry L. Berggren, AIA

Jerry Berggren earned his Bachelor of Architecture at Kansas State University and would later have founded what would become Berggren Architects, P.C. in 1977. The firm began as a sole proprietorship in Lincoln, Nebraska and has since then been dedicated to the preservation of Nebraska’s finest architecture. The 1983 Jobs Bill was the milestone which introduced the firm to its most significant building type, the historic county courthouse. A project to improve the thermal efficiency of the windows at the Johnson County Courthouse in Tecumseh also initiated Berggren’s concern for energy conservation and an ongoing commitment to sustainable design.

Today, Jerry Berggren has expanded his firm. He continues to employ professionals and interns focused on historic preservation and extending the life of our built environment. One growing sector of Berggren Architects, P.C. is our consulting service. As preservation consultants, we share our expertise in historic buildings with other architectural firms. After more than 30 years of assessing the historic structures in the care of local and regional museums, Jerry has developed yet another passion: the design and assessment of museums’ collections storage. At many museums, collections storage is too often an afterthought. When the budget has been spent, a museum’s most treasured possessions are commonly left in the least desirable facility. Jerry is sharing his experience with collections storage design and maintenance, as architect or consultant, with museums throughout the Midwest. The future will undoubtedly hold more unexpected opportunities and challenges. He looks forward to each of those, and you are invited to contact him directly regarding the architectural challenges you face.

Production Manager

Garry Martin

Garry has been working in the architectural field continuously since obtaining a master’s degree in architecture from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1991. He had previously worked with Jerry Berggren as an intern in 1989 and the experience piqued his interest in the field of preservation. Garry leads the production team at Berggren Architects, P.C.

Contract Consultant

Farheen Sirajuddin

Farheen, a citizen of India, began her career with formal education in that country achieving the status of architect. When her husband was transferred to the U.S., she seized the opportunity to study at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln graduating in 2019 with her Master of Architecture. She immediately became one of our full time employees continuing to work until her student visa expired in July of 2020. Having to return to India, we thought we had lost a valued employee. Thanks to COVID, we have had to learn to work remotely. Farheen, now living in Canada, has once again joined us. This time as a contract consultant and we are very grateful to have her back.

Architectural Historian

Janet Jeffries

Janet has a career history as an educator, writer, and researcher in the field of historical and architectural preservation. She received her Master of Arts and History of Architecture at the University of Nebraska. She currently works as the University Historian for Doane University in Crete, NE and is the Curator for the Crete Heritage Society. Janet is currently employed as the firm’s Architectural/Preservation Historian.

Architectural Intern

Alexi Caines

Alexi joined Berggren Architects in 2021. In her first year as a Larsen Legacy intern, her responsibilities began with coordinating office operations and research. Since then she has graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and majored in architectural studies and received a Bachelor of Science in Design. Her current responsibilities for Berggren Architects include marketing and preparation of construction documents and design.

Media Production Manager

Kameron Dadgostar

Kameron joined Berggren Architects in September of 2022 as a Media Production Intern. He has since graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Bachelors Degree in Film Studies. His current responsibilities include media team oversight, creating digital videos for the company, filming footage on site of current projects, website development as well as creating and updating existing content and project information.

Staff Architect

Leroy Svatora, AIA

Leroy has been continuously involved in the practice of Architecture since receiving his Master’s Degree in Architecture from University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1977. He began working part-time in an architectural office prior to graduation and worked briefly with Jerry in the 1980’s. After leaving Jerry’s office, he became licensed in the State of Nebraska, and worked for other firms in Lincoln on a variety of project types and scales. Since then, he has returned to assist Berggren Architects once more.

Media Production Intern

Grace Shepherd

Grace joined the Berggren Architects team in June of 2023 as a Media Production Intern part of the McCown Media Internship Program. Grace is a student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln studying Emerging Media Arts. She is carrying on the McCown Media Internship Program by filming, editing, and publishing digital content for Berggren Architects and aiding in website development.

Architectual Student Intern

Sharon Guchu

in 2023, Sharon joined Berggren Architects. Her responsibilities as a Larsen Legacy Intern include managing QuickBooks, setting up and maintaining office supplies, and acts as the front-facing representative of our company to the public.

Operations Manager

Jess Larsen

Jess rejoined Berggren Architects as Operations Manager in 2023. Jess originally began her tenure at Berggren in 2016 as an intern while working on her undergraduate degree in Architecture from University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In 2019, after Graduating with Distinction, from the College of Architecture with a Bachelor of Science in Design, and a Minor in Art History and Criticism, she moved to New York City to work as an operations associate for an art consulting firm. Jess has worked with major real estate developers, interior designers, and international artists for her award-winning projects. She is back with Berggren part-time to manage company operations, and to ensure Berggren Architects runs smoothly.

Architectural Production Staff

Brennan Deboer

Brennan’s background in building is rooted in craftsmanship. After graduating from the University of Montana in 2014, Brennan’s professional experience has been split between the arts and construction, working primarily as an audio engineer and a finish carpenter. In 2020, Brennan combined his passions for music and fine woodworking and began working for Bedient Pipe Organ Co. building and refurbishing pipe organs. Working with antique instruments led him to a wider interest in historic building practices and preservation. A desire to formally pursue historic preservation work has now brought him to the Architectural Production Staff at Berggren Architects.

Architectural Student Intern

Kenzie Prauner

Kenzie joined Berggren Architects in May of 2024. Her responsibilities as a Larsen Legacy Intern include managing QuickBooks, documentation, coordinating office operations, and acting as the front-facing representative of our company to the public.

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