Through DLR Group's relationship with Creighton Prep, a rapport was developed with Father Tony Wach. As a result, our passion for K-12 design and the intrigue of an unfamiliar culture and environment was revealed. A team was formed to pursue Father Tony's vision of providing educational opportunities for the youth in northern Uganda. Given the unique context of the project, it was viewed as a learning opportunity for both academia and the firm. With DLR Group's close ties with the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, a proposal was made to let a studio adopt the project, along with the collaboration of DLR Group professionals.
The project was welcomed by Dean Drummond and embraced by Professor Despang, where in his hometown of Hannover, Germany, he is an innovator in K-12 design. Along with his expertise in cutting edge applied research with a high emphasis on sustainability, it was the perfect team. The studio was lead primarily by Professor Despang, with a co-professor presence of DLR Group principal, Gerold Klien. Through this interaction during informal desk and scheduled critiques, the students were able to get a feel of the tremendous responsibility and potential of the profession they will soon be entering. By the end of the studio, the students left with a new appreciation for design and the profession.
Society of Jesus (Jesuits)
The tradition and mission of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) is “to be in solidarity” with suffering brothers and sisters, particularly through prayer and spiritual ministries, advocacy, and financial assistance. In the northern region of Uganda, 20 years of terrible insecurity has broken down the culture, family life, morale, health, economy and education. In accordance with their mission, the Jesuits plan to construct a boarding school to accommodate 1,200 boys and girls. The curriculum will consist of liberal arts and vocational schooling, working toward repairing the broken way of life in the area. Given the remote location, the campus will be use sustainable strategies, such as on site brick production, solar energy and water harvesting for farming or gardening, all together maintaining the quality of life for its residents.
UNL College of Architecture
UNL strives to find studio projects that are relevant to the current global condition, along with working with firms to expose the students to architectural practice. Given DLR Group’s expertise and experience, they were teamed together with an accomplished associate professor, incredibly excited about the possible learning opportunity, Martin Despang, who is a registered architect and partner of Despang Architekten in Hannover, Germany. Known for his work on sustainable and K-12 projects, made him a good partner with DLR Group. The studio culture instilled by martin is one of a lab environment focusing on the exploration of new technologies and materials.
A national leader in K-12 design and emerging innovator in sustainability, wished to share their expertise with future architects at a academic level. DLR Group representative, Gerold Klein, worked side by side with Professor Despang in guiding the students through their research and design process. The interaction showed the students that design can be their future and a way to make a difference in the world. Gerold’s vast experience with DLR Group was beneficial to the students during the exploratory process.