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Minnesota Army National Guard Division Headquarters Wins SAME Grand Design Award

ARDEN HILLS, MN — The Minnesota Army National Guard Division Headquarters in Arden Hills, Minnesota, designed by LEO A DALY and built by Stahl Construction, has been named the Grand Design Award winner (built) in the Society of American Military Engineers’ (SAME) biannual Design Awards program. Representing the highest honor for a facility, infrastructure, landscape, or planning project designed for a SAME partner agency (DoD, VA, DHS, Public Health Service, or GSA) worldwide, the award recognizes the National Guard readiness center as one of the best works of federal architecture built this decade.

The award was presented to members of the LEO A DALY planning, architecture, engineering, and interior design team during the Society Ball & Awards Gala at the 2022 JETC conference in the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center in Aurora, Colorado.

Nestled among the rolling hills, wetlands, and mature oak trees of a federal cantonment area, the project makes landscape a central focus of the design. The black building blends shadow-like into the environment while working to mitigate its impact on the surrounding ecosystem. From a previously contaminated state, the site has been restored to natural harmony, with building systems, waterways, existing old-growth forest, and nesting bird habitats integrated as a sustainable whole.

Award jury members commented:

  • “Elegant design integrates well into the existing site — long and low. Great use of passive and active sustainable systems to reduce energy consumption.”
  • “Great care and respect for the ecology of the site; preservation of wetlands, trees, natural landscape, and ecosystems.”
  • “High level integration of energy and water conservation techniques, plus use of innovative geothermal technologies.”
  • “Excellent master plan and building design and execution for the site and functional program.”

Completed in October 2020, the 149,735-square-foot facility reimagines the National Guard readiness center for a new era of warfighting, peacekeeping, and emergency response challenges. The building program responds to the National Guard’s evolving mission in the 21st century, providing secure space for advanced cyber activities, a Class-A workplace designed to recruit tech talent, and a highly sustainable and resilient design that honors the National Guard’s commitment to community and the future.

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The building’s architecture represents a defining step forward for the 34th Infantry Division’s “Red Bulls,” providing a connection to the past and demonstrating reverence to the site. The use of color, materials, and form expresses the simplicity and clarity of the activities within and provides visual impact while staying true to the pragmatic sensibilities of the region, the client, and the communities it serves.

“LEO A DALY’s long history of design excellence for the federal government led to this achievement for a project that captures the spirit and mission of the Minnesota National Guard in every detail," said LEO A DALY President Steven A. Lichtenberger, AIA. "This recognition signifies our devotion to design that enhances the human experience and natural environment, while delivering life-cycle cost-effectiveness, facilitating mission accomplishment, and positively impacting our federal agencies."

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