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Interior of Rochester Public Utilities building

Rochester Public Utilities Receives AIA Minnesota 25-Year Award

The Rochester Public Utilities Service Center, designed by TKDA, is the recipient of the 2020 AIA Minnesota 25‑Year Award. Established in 1981, the prestigious annual award recognizes one exemplary architectural project—between 25 and 50 years old—that stands the test of time.

Designed and managed by Dean Johnson, AIA, the TKDA team included: Rich Gray, ASLA, landscape architect; Lon Fiedler, PE, mechanical engineer; Tom Stoneburner, PE, structural engineer, (current TKDA CEO/President); and John Denis, CLEP, RCDD, electrical designer. The Boldt Company was the general contractor.

The complex was designed to bring all Rochester Public Utilities staff together under one roof, while protecting critical operations infrastructure, employing state-of-the-art energy-efficient systems, and providing daylight, views, and comfort to create a positive working environment. Its use of in-ground geothermal loops, in-slab mass-stored heating, and ice-bank cooling, along with rooftop monitors, skylights, and in-boarding offices to bring light and views deep within the space, were considered groundbreaking at the time of its design in 1985.

The 2020 AIA Minnesota 25‑Year Award jury included leading Minnesota architects Bartlett Baker, FAIA; Jim Larson, AIA; Jean Rehkamp Larson, AIA; Samantha Turnock Mendiola, AIA; and Jill Vowels, AIA. The jury was impressed by the cutting-edge sustainability and resiliency features of the complex, as well as its adaptability to meet the changing needs of employees and the public. They noted the beautiful daylighting and sense of welcome in the lobby and office spaces, and that the facility performs well in many measures of the AIA Framework for Design Excellence

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