Urban Design Group (UDG)

Urban Design Group (UDG) offers architectural, interior, planning and urban design services to its worldwide clientele from studios in Atlanta, Georgia, and Dallas, Texas. UDG was founded in 1975 by John M. Novack, Jr., FAIA, after leaving his position as Design Director at C.F. Murphy Associates of Chicagoi.

The firm has grown over the years, having designed such notable urban projects as Rivercenter, Tabor Center, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Carlson Center in Minnetonka, among many others. Each office functions as an independent studio within the larger firm, offering small firm response time and close involvement with clients, while providing the resources and expertise of a larger firm.

The firm was formed within the context of place-making. With the design of the Tabor Center in Denver and Rivercenter in San Antonio, UDG was thrust into the later stages of American urban renewal, and responded with the revelation of a new kind of place.iii iv The resulting projects included both the development of new and unforgettable places in the urban core, as well as the startling idea that the inner city buildings that surround these spaces could be revitalized.v vi UDG has been recognized as an innovator of buildings that affect their contexts remarkably, leading to new and reinvigorated urban environments.

UDG is known for its generalist approach. Noted architect Sean W. Sculley observes, “This consortium of studios has no specialty, but rather seems capable of specializing (as did the versatile Ancients) in almost every type of architectural endeavor.”vii Design is contextual.viii Solutions rise from a design philosophy that puts responsiveness to the program, the setting, and the project’s context far above any preconceived idea of a particular design style.ixx

The firm has completed more than $4.5 billion work of projects worldwide. UDG’s work has also garnered national and international recognition and numerous design awards.

elected Projects

*Amrit Touristic Development, Tartous District, Syria
*Animal Kingdom Lodge, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
*Carlson Center, Minnetonka, Minnesota
*Cameron University Science Complex, Lawton, Oklahoma
*Castle Creek Lodge, Aspen, Colorado
*Convergence Center, Virginia Beach, Virginia
*Denver Dry Goods, Denver, Colorado
*Eagles Nest Ranch, Northeastern, Colorado
*E.M. Dirksen Federal Building: Phase III Renovation, Chicago, Illinois
*Fallen Oak Golf Clubhouse, Gulfport, Mississippi
*Four Winds Casino Resort, New Buffalo, Michigan
*Grand Californian, Disney’s California Adventure, Anaheim, California
*Great Platte River Road Archway Monument, Kearney, Nebraska
*Galleria 400, Atlanta, Georgia
*Grand Bear Golf Clubhouse, Gulfport, Mississippi
*Hollywood Slots at Bangor, Bangor, Maine
*Hollywood Casino at Penn National, Grantville, Pennsylvania
*International Baptist Theological Seminary, Prague, Czech Republic
*Law Offices / Crawford Hill Mansion, Denver, Colorado
*Nakheel Design Summit, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
*OCT Yantian Eco Park and Resort, Shenzhen, China
*One Ten Broadway, San Antonio, Texas
*Opera Galleria, Fort Collins, Colorado
*Quartz Mountain Arts and Conference Center, Lone Wolf, Oklahoma
*Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa, Oklahoma
*Preston Ridge I & II, Alpharetta, Georgia
*Rivercenter, San Antonio, Texas
*Silver Legacy, Reno, Nevada
*Sinclair Cabin, Montrose County, Colorado
*Sogang University Graduate School of Business, Seoul, Korea
*Tabor Center, Denver, Colorado
*Tramway Renovation, Denver, Colorado
*Tulsa Community College West Campu,s Tulsa, Oklahoma
*Tulsa Union Depot, Tulsa, Oklahoma
*University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, Los Angeles, California
*United Artist Theatres, Bugis Junction, Singapore
*United Artist Theatres, Shatin, Hong Kong
*Wilderness Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
*Windward Fairways I and II, Atlanta, Georgia

Selected Awards

18th Street Atrium Denver, Colorado
1984 Architectural Award of Excellence, W.O.O.D. Inc.

Animal Kingdom Lodge Walt Disney World Orlando, Florida
2002 THEA Award for Outstanding Achievement, Themed Hospitality Entertainment Association • Brookfield Lakes - Corporate Center XVII Brookfield, Wisconsin
2001 Building of the Year Award - under 75,000 s.f. Building Owners and Management Association

Cactus Club Denver, Colorado
1990 Award of Honor, Colorado/AIA Region/AIA
1991 Preservation Award, Historic Denver Inc. for Community Preservation

Cameron University - Science Complex Tulsa, Oklahoma
1999 Award for Specialized Facility, Learning by Design Magazine
1998 Design Excellence, American School & University

City Center West Las Vegas, Nevada
2000 Special Recognition, Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute

Convergence Center I Virginia Beach, Virginia
2001 1st Place, Best Office Buildings over 75,000 s.f. Hampton Roads Assoc. for Commercial Real Estate

Galleria 600 Atlanta, Georgia
2002 First Place Award, High Rise Buildings, Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute

Grand Californian Disney’s California Adventure Anaheim, California
2001 Project of the Year - Land Development Award, American Society of Civil Engineers, Orange County Branch

Great Platte River Road Archway Monument Kearney, Nebraska
2002 I.D.E.A.S. National Merit Award for Innovative Design & Excellence in Architecture Using Structural Steel in the U.S. ($25-$100M category)
2001 THEA Award for Outstanding Achievement, Themed Hospitality Entertainment Association

Haddon Cabin Pagosa Springs, Colorado
1985 Honor Award for Professional Excellence in Urban Design, Division of Urban Design, University of Colorado
1993 Award of Excellence, Western Mountain Region/AIA

Hamilton Lakes East Itasca, Illinois
2001 PCI Certificate of Special Recognition, Precast Concrete Institute
2001 PCI Award - Design Excellence Award, Precast Concrete Institute

Johnson, Robinson, Neff, & Ragonetti Law Offices I Denver, Colorado
Award of Merit, Corporate Interiors Honor Award, American Bar Association

Law Offices - Crawford Hill Mansion Denver, Colorado
1990"' Presentation Award., Historic Denver, Inc.
1991"' Award of Honor, Western Mountain Region/AIA

Little Lake Lodge Aspen, Colorado
2002 Tucker Award for Design Excellence, Building Stone Institute

One Ten Broadway San Antonio, Texas
1985 Certificate of Recognition, San Antonio Conservation Society
1992 Renovation Award, National Association of Industrial & Office Parks Honor Award, The Construction Specifications Institute

Opera Galleria Ft. Collins, Colorado
1992 Honor Award, Colorado/AIAAward of Merit, Corporate Interiors

Philbrook Museum of Art Tulsa, Oklahoma
Lighting Awards of Honor, American Society of Illumination Engineers

Preston Ridge I & II Alpharetta, Georgia
2001 Building of the Year Award - MidRise Runner-Up, Building Owners and Management Association

Rivercenter San Antonio, Texas
1987 Award of Honor, The Construction Specification Institute
1988 Honor Award, Central States Region/AIA
1988 Grand Award, International Conference of Shopping Centers
1989 Center for Excellence - Urban Centers over 500,000sf, National Mall Monitor
1989 Lighting Award of Honor, American Society of Illuminating Engineers

Riverfront Park Denver, Colorado
2002 Merit Award, Colorado AIA

State Office Building Denver, Colorado
1986 Honorable Mention, Restoration and Renovation Projects, Construction Specifications Institute 1986 Award for Renovation, Rocky Mountain Regional Design Awards
1987 Lighting Award of Honor, American Society of Illuminating Engineers

Tabor Center Denver, Colorado
1986 Award for Architecture, Rocky Mountain Region, AIA
1986 Excellence in Concrete Buildings, Portland Cement Association

The Shops at Tabor Center Denver, Colorado
1984 Honorable Mention Award - Excellence in Specifications, Construction Specifications Institute
1985 Honor Award, Tulsa Chapter AIA
1985 Honor Award for Professional Excellence in Urban Design, Division of Urban Design - University of Colorado

Three Westlakes Office Berwyn, Pennsylvania
1990 Delaware Valley Award for Building Design, National Association of Industrial & Office Parks

Tramway Renovation Denver, Colorado
1992 Downtown Denver Award, National Theater Conservatory

Tulsa Community College - West Campus Tulsa, Oklahoma
1999 Award for Specialized Facility, Learning by Design Magazine
1998 Design Excellence, American School & University

Tulsa Union Depot Tulsa, Oklahoma
1984 Landmark Art Deco Building, Art Deco Societies of America

Wilderness Resort Walt Disney World Orlando, Florida
1994 Hospitality Design Gold Key Award, People’s Choice Award

Williams Center Green Tulsa, Oklahoma
1981 Environmental Improvement, Grand Award, Art Deco Societies of America

Windward Fairways I & II Alpharetta, Georgia
2001 Building of the Year Award – MidRise, Building Owners and Management Association

Fast Facts

Year Established:1975

Atlanta, Georgia
Dallas, Texas

John M. Novack, Jr., FAIA
Ronald D. Armstrong, AIA
Donald C. Buenger, AIA, LEEDAP
Raymond R. Kahl, AIA

Awards:UDG has received more than 80 design excellence awards and honors, and 15 design competition awards

Publications: UDG has been recognized by over 70 magazine articles, newspaper pieces, and various design resource books, including coverage by international publications.



iIngersoll, R. (1989). Reborn to Shop: Rivercenter in San Antonio. City, 9.
iiBaxter, L. (1988) A Sense of Place. Identity.
iiiDivision of Urban Design of the University of Colorado College of Design and Planning, Award of Honor, Tabor Center, 1985.
ivIdeal Places: Rockefeller Visions for America, featuring Tabor Center. 5th Annual Honor Awards.
vGaskie, M. (1989). Just Add Water. Architectural Record, 100.
viJohnson, C. (1983). Tulsa’s Union Depot. Oklahoma Home and Garden. 15.
viiSculley, S.W. (2003). Musing on an ‘American’ Architecture. Urban Design Group: Selected and Current Works, The Master Architect Series, 8.
viiiMorris, D.L. (1996). The Wilderness World of Disney. Log Home Living, 59
xiCommercial and Retail Development (2001). Galleria 400. Georgia Construction Review: Atlanta Edition, 26.
xBruegmann, R. (1989). The Corporate Landscape. Inland Architect. (reprint)

External links

* [http://www.urbandesigngroup.com UDG website]

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