Conceptual Projects and Student Thesis Work

Combining a Child Advocacy Center and a Services and Support Center, the Family Resource Center is a collaboration between Native American Santee Sioux Nation and The Nebraska Children and Families Foundation. The project was designed by University of Nebraska students in PLAIN (a design-build initiative parallel to FACT) with Actual Architecture  Co. as the architect of record. The building is located on the Santee Sioux Reservation in rural northeast Nebraska where approximately 800 people live on 173 square miles of land. The tribe struggles with high rates of addiction and domestic abuse, and the Center provides a positive, private, and safe space for those affected by these circumstances.

The small building houses services related to family healing and forensic investigations of children who may have suffered sexual and physical abuse. It contains spaces for supervised family interaction and foster parent training. Private interview and observation rooms provide an environment for abused persons to share their experiences with authorities. Conceived as a pair of interlocking squares that formalize a program of reunion, one side of the building houses private examination rooms with a discrete entrance and the other, a large room and kitchen for family reunion. Service spaces and a restroom separate the two sides and provide an acoustical buffer.

Psychology and Architectural Ruins

Zebulun Lund April 4th, 2016

I on the Streets – MAS Context  (pub pending)

Jason Griffiths



“I on the Streets” documents every windowless street façade in Lincoln Nebraska. It is the antithesis to Jane Jacobs’ maxim on inclusive and socially coherent urbanism and on first sight an abject architecture in its most characterless form.

However the anonymity of a sightless facade defers to a minority of architectural photographers who reveal something more problematic about the relationship between photography and architectural character. Despite its better intentions the notion of objective photography is quite often and quite quickly subsumed by a more broad cultural commentary (William Garnett/construction science, Bernd & Hilla Becher / postindustrial typologies and so on) that leads to refined aesthetic informant of architectural design. This appreciation lies in an inadvertent allure of the solitary spaces and the sublime pleasure of “ordinary” environments.


In truth so much significant architecture draws upon this allure (MVRDV / Andreas Gursky, Venturi/ Ed Ruscha, Caruso St John/Demand, John Hejduk / Bernd & Hilla Becher, Diller Scofidio / Joel Sternfeld and so on). However this contemplation and aesthetic consideration is only possible from a position of extreme anonymity. The kind of anonymity that allows the photographer to work unobserved (in this case by windowless facades) in an environment that would be unavailable in the socially vibrant urbanism of “Eyes on the Street”.


Naturally great architecture must be socially coherent but its breadth is equally inclusive of an ambiguous relationship to objectivity and perhaps the more problematic allure of characterless “ordinary” architecture.