Fall 2009 UNL Designs

Posted by paul on Mar 17, 2011 under


“The road to the future always begins with a vision.”  This phrase written by Paul Hosford for a newspaper column was what got me thinking about Albion.  Albionites are really open to new ideas and envision a bright future for their community.  Together Albionites and UNL architecture students can make this change happen. — UNL Student Cinthia Barragan

Professor Despang’s first look at sustainable design in Boone County focused on downtown Albion.  The City of Albion was working on their Comprehensive Planning Process at that time so the UNL students’ designs were intended to fit within the scope of that process.

The students, who were charged with designing as if they were going to live in Albion one day, visited Albion repeatedly, both as a class and in small groups, to get to know the community.  They first produced 4-panel “Eidetic Images” which reflected their impressions of Albion, target areas for further investigation and precedents from other communities they thought might be helpful.

Following this each student designed three new buildings or improvements to existing buildings.  While sustainability was central to their approaches, so too was affordability and the use of locally available building materials.

More than anything else, though, the social implications of revitalizing the downtown became the dominant focus of the students’ work.  They soon recognized that bringing people together either for commerce or recreation in new buildings or green spaces could play a positive role in strengthening community pride and involvement.

At the end of the semester, the students’ designs were displayed in the Nebraska State Capitol building in Lincoln in the hope of inspiring other communities to integrate sustainable building design in their development processes.  Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman flew back to Lincoln from western Nebraska to speak at this reception, complimenting the project both for exploring ways to reduce future energy needs and for involving young people in the rural development process.


“I found the people of Albion to be warm, kind, and so pleasant to be around.  I brought my little daughter with me, and she connected with Paul’s family instantly.  After my trip I started thinking about the ways we are living.  Cities offer excitement and diversity but are not family friendly; the country has a natural environment but lacks convenience.  The question is what can we do to make Albion an ideal place for people to live, work, and raise a family?” UNL student Xin Zhao

Introduction to Course

Student Designs:

 Brian Akert

Eidetic Images    Urban Fitness Center    Brewed Bean DT    Sheriff’s Department

Cinthia Barragan

Negative Spaces Art Gallery    Negative Spaces Retail Plaza    Bus+Train Station

A.J. Campbell

The Beacon     Bar Stay    Train Station

Jared Carda

Eidetic Images   Jack of All Trades   Albion Senior Center   Albion Hotel + Restaurant

Archie Carpenter

 Albion Museum   Albion Art Colony   Housing

Meghan Deharty

Eidetic Images    Wine Bar[n]   Dwell Albion

Meghan Deharty & Whitney Polt

Sandhills Cellars 1,   Sandhills Cellars 2

Kati Eitzman

Eidetic Images   Prairie Pods   Albion General Store   Re-Awakening the Urban Glue

Aaron Nohrenberg

 The Boot Rack Condos   Relief Lounge   Performing Arts Center

Whitney Polt

The Bar Hop   Boutique Hotel

Jacob Smith

 Paperless Library   Albion Drive-In   616 – A Comic Book Store

Andy Sorensen

 Eidetic Images   Apple Store   Roof Top Housing   Organic Restaurant + Hotel

Xin Zhao

Children’s Learning Center   Farmer’s Market   Good Life Pharm-Clinic


Repioneering Albion News Articles

CAPITOL RECEPTION — UNL architecture students, Albion residents and state officials gathered for this photo during the Re-pioneering Albion reception at the State Capitol on Dec. 10.  Those attending included (front, l. to r.) students Jared Carda and Andy Sorensen; Paul Hosford, Gov. Dave Heineman; students Cinthia Barragan, Whitney Polt and Meghan Deharty; Lori Hosford.  Back row: Andy Devine; student Jacob Smith; Dean of Architecture Wayne Drummond; and students Brian Akert, Kyle Miller, Aaron Nohrenberg, Kory Randa, Archie Carpenter, KatiEitzman and Katie Johnston. Not pictured are students A.J. Campbell and Xin Zhao, and professor Martin Despang.  (Courtesy of the Albion News)

Additional Press Coverage

Lincoln Journal-Star   Omaha World-Herald   Norfolk Daily News   Grand Island Independent   Channel 10/11


At the conclusion of this project the City of Albion presented Professor Despang and each student with an Honorary Citizenship Certificate.

Note from Congressman Adrian Smith