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Omaha Magazine

Designed by Architects for Architects: Carlson West Povondra Architects

May 27, 2022 01:26PM ● By Sean Robinson
exterior of CWP architecture offices

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Carlson West Povondra Architects have helped build the Omaha community since the late ’80s. Car dealerships, churches, schools, and senior housing are some of the city’s visually stunning spaces this expert team has led the design and construction of. 

They’ve produced dozens and dozens of projects and had decades of success. Their staff has more than tripled in size.

Across all that experience, one client has proven to be the most difficult. Turns out…it’s themselves. 

“Worst. Client. Ever. OK, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration,” said Jamie Eckmann, a partner at the firm. “Everyone here is a designer, so everyone has input. It was interesting, though, to find a way to merge opinions to get to the final project.” 

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CWP’s office at 5060 Dodge St. is a marvel they’ve renovated themselves, giving modern flair to a building that was becoming dated. 

Today, it’s made for the way a 21st century architecture and design studio works. The 6,000-square-foot space also shows clients what CWP is capable of creating, and that was apparent right from the very first meeting. 

“We want people to walk in, be wowed and have them think, ‘If they can do this, what can they do for our space,’” said Matt Krause, a CWP architect and partner.

Wow factor certainly lives there. The entrance stuns in various shades of light beige, with wood paneling spanning from the floor across the ceiling and “CWP” spelled out in big, bold letters. The effect creates a bright, inviting welcome to employees and guests alike. 

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Throughout the office are meeting rooms and workspace lofts framed by tempered glass walls, furniture in pops of bright colors, and a U-shaped lobby staircase with a bright blue backsplash. The aesthetic is as innovative and creative as the team that works within the building itself. 

“Architecture is creating an environment, a way of working,” Eckmann said. “That’s what we sell to our clients. We need to do the same for ourselves.”

As the way in which the team designs evolves, so too does the building. Three separate major renovations and updates have taken place—in 1992 when they moved in, then in 2003, and again in 2017. 

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Initially, the staff wanted individual workstations with large partitions created from bookshelves of sample materials. Today, those catalogs have gone digital, and the partitions are gone. 

“We captured back that space to become a more open, collaborative environment,” Eckmann said.

A large, more formalized conference room was added, and the middle of the lower level has been left open as a working studio space. 

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“Our collaboration space is fairly unique because it’s the center of the office. It’s not something hidden in the corner,” Krause said. “When we have big meetings, everyone just hops up and goes to the middle. If there are presentations, you can continue working and hear them. It makes our entire operations very transparent.”

That cornerstone of how they run their business is evident even from the outside looking in. The 5060 Dodge building is a mix of concrete, brick, and right in the center, large glass windows—giving those who drive by a peek of the ingenuity brewing inside. 

“This space is reflective of who we are as a firm and how we want to work,” Krause said.

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This article originally appeared in the June/July 2022  issue of B2B Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.  

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