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The Highlander Accelerator, a community centre in a former public-housing project in Omaha, includes a coffee roastery, a business incubator, an aquaponics greenhouse and a soul food restaurant. When making programming choices for the Accelerator, the board of Seventy Five North, a local non-profit, asked one main question: What do people in the neighbourhood want? If an amenity is valuable to the community, they reasoned, surely it belongs at the site. To design the project, the non-profit commissioned the Kansas City firm El Dorado, which created a suite of three buildings surrounded by sedum beds and apple trees. The structures are thoughtful, with generous glazing, pops of colour and perforated metal siding to reduce solar gain. In a poetic touch, the architects decided not to give the main building a front door. People from all walks of life – and all parts of town – can enter the site any way they like. 

Project Highlander Accelerator Location Omaha, Nebraska, U.S. Firm El Dorado, U.S. Team Josh Shelton with Sean Slattery, Mark Horne and Grace Broeder Photo Mike Sinclair

Highlander Accelerator

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2019
People’s ChoiceSocial Good
Firm
Loci Architecture, U.S.
Team
David Briggs with Elise McCurley and Benjamin Wellington
2018
Award of MeritSocial Good
Location
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2023
WinnerFurniture Systems and Collections
Award of MeritSocial Good
Designers
Humberto and Fernando Campana, Brazil
Manufacturer
Paola Lenti, Italy