It helps us define the firm we’ll become.
“It began in a basement. It was in April of 1966 that Jim Roubal would take a box of his personal effects below ground to begin working with Irv Dana and Bill Larson to begin their own architectural design firm.”
Architects Irv Dana and Bill Larson, and engineer Jim Roubal, launched their eponymous firm on April 1, 1966 from a 12-by-12-foot space in a basement at 102nd and Wright in Omaha. The integrated practice was founded on their shared ideals of quality, fairness, opportunity for professional growth, and ownership. Those principles drive our core values today.
Marked by transformation and optimism, the ‘60s were a blend of idealism, activism, and undreamed-of technological advances. This era also saw the emergence of a new generation of architects – Dana, Larson, and Roubal among them.
Bryan High School in Omaha, completed in 1969, laid the firm’s track record in education design.
Pierre Public Library in Pierre, South Dakota, completed in 1969, received an AIA/American Library Association National Honor Award.
Political unrest, social challenges, an energy crisis, and the resulting economic recession all necessitated creative approaches to solving some difficult problems. Our successes through this era attest to ingenuity and ability to adapt and grow in the face of change.
The University of Nebraska Omaha Performing Arts Complex, completed in 1974, helped launch our award-winning Higher Education practice.
The Central States Health and Life Insurance Building in Omaha, completed in 1977, was a high-profile project that established the firm’s reputation in the Midwest.
By establishing footholds in markets across the country through new offices, we also grew in name recognition. Our project portfolio diversified by entering into new categories, and transitioning leadership to a second generation.
The Federal Correctional Institution in Phoenix, completed in 1984, was an award-winning prototype design.
Eppley Airfield Terminal in Omaha, completed in 1987, established the firm in transit and aviation.
The emergence of the Internet and the end of the Cold War were two seemingly disparate events that opened the world to new avenues of communication and cooperation. Economic growth helped us continue to build a significant portfolio in both public and private markets.
Boeing Everett 777 Office Complex in Everett, Washington, completed in 1991, was the firm’s largest project at the time of completion – comfortably over 2 million SF.
Legends Field in Tampa, Florida, completed in 1995, renovated the Yankees spring training complex and continued our collaboration with World Series Champions.
Y2K had us questioning the future – but not ones to let a computer glitch get in the way of important work, we kept to our mission of elevating the human experience through design. Despite an economic downturn in 2008, the decade saw incredible design growth.
Bemidji High School in Bemidji, Minnesota, completed in 2001, was the firm’s first small-learning community high school.
The Wayne L. Morse United States Courthouse in Eugene, Oregon, completed in 2006, was the GSA’s first LEED Gold-certified new construction project.
The firm activated the tenets of Architecture 2030 Challenge, the AIA 2030 Commitment, and the China Accord to be a leading voice for sustainable design and preservation. The first overseas offices opened in Dubai and Shanghai enhancing the firm’s ability to deliver design excellence for international clients.
The renovation of the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum received an AIA COTE Top Ten award in 2018.
Inspired by Wellington College in the U.K., the Huili School in Shanghai is home to 1,080 students in grades one through nine, and the firm’s initial school in Asia.
We have been bestowed a deep understanding of who we are as a firm and culture. And because of Dana, Larson, and Roubal's legacy, we have an even clearer vision of who we will become."
Meet our People
Our sector, discipline, and executive leaders are dispersed to mentor the next generation of employee-owners, counsel clients, and share their design voice in their local communities.
The concept of ownership, its importance to our culture, and the immense benefits are rather simple. Driven by opportunity, we make decisions that impact not only our success but also that of our clients and partners.