- Written by: Ivy Carter
- Produced by: Joe Atwood
- Estimated reading time: 5 mins
Since 1970 Architectural Alliance has sustained a vital architectural practice by fostering creative collaboration with clients, engineers, specialized consultants and builders alike. Architectural Alliance was founded on the belief that a team approach would lead to solutions for clients that are more innovative, enduring and sustainable. The company’s forward-thinking philosophy has become more common in recent years, as clients, contractors and architects work together to deliver better buildings at a lower cost.
The Minneapolis-based architectural firm serves both public and corporate clients, delivering quality project design in both renovation and new construction. The company is privately owned and is currently in its fourth generation of internal ownership and leadership.
“Over the years, we’ve really worked on how to create a successful generational transfer of ownership,” shares Tom DeAngelo, principal and previous president of Architectural Alliance. “I think that makes us unique in our industry. We have a strong plan in place for ownership transition. We’ve come to embrace the fact that we’re in a constant state of transition, and we’ve always looked first to find ways that our younger associates can grow into future leadership roles in our firm.”
Architectural Alliance’s staff of 75 includes expert architects and interior designers to serve both national and international clients. “Although we began as a regional firm, we now provide aviation and corporate design services around the country and, in some cases, internationally,” explains DeAngelo. “Our studio approach and our specialized focus on aviation, science and technology, as well as corporate workplace environments have allowed us to significantly diversify our practice since our earlier years.”
Building the Best Teams
Architectural Alliance’s principals begin most projects by researching, evaluating and partnering with independent engineers, mechanical and electrical experts, landscape architects and other specialized consultants to create the best possible team for clients. The company believes that providing the best-possible design service begins with the careful selection of the most qualified specialists, and whenever possible the team includes clients in this process.
“Team building is the basis and essence of what we do,” adds Carey Brendalen, principal and current president of Architectural Alliance. “We place a strong emphasis on design with skilled project management and collaborative teaming. This has been part of who we are since our founding in 1970.”
Exceptional Design Service
The company’s integrated team approach is designed to respond to client’s needs in a consistent manner throughout the design and construction process, ensuring a timely and effective service. The company’s high level of service allows Architectural Alliance to work with corporate clients, including Allianz Life, Medtronic, General Mills, Securian and St. Jude Medical. The company partners with such clients on significant corporate campus projects that create innovative office environments and solutions for science- and technology-oriented clients.
Architectural Alliance is currently leading the design for the University of Minnesota’s new Cancer and Cardiovascular Research Building, as well as a new Physics and Nanotechnology Building, both of which are nearing completion. Architectural Alliance is currently in the early phases of design for the renovation of the University’s historic Tate Physics Building. “These projects are complex and require specialized consultants to provide the expertise that the University demands,” adds DeAngelo.
Architectural Alliance has provided comprehensive design services for the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport since 1978. The team has worked on over 80 airports, including hub and regional airports, major carriers, international arrival, support facilities, systems, concessions and interior design. The company provides terminal area master plans, studies, passenger flow analysis, parking optimization, as well as many other services that help clients increase revenue and passenger satisfaction. Architectural Alliance is also an internationally recognized leader within the realm of airport concessions, with over 20 national and international design awards for program design. The company’s current projects include: planning and design at the Bill and Hillary Clinton International Airport in Little Rock, Grand Rapids Michigan’s airport, as well as airports in Cheyenne, Wyo., and Tuscon, Ariz.
While the majority of Architectural Alliance’s projects involve full design, management and project delivery services, the company’s partnering philosophy has led to involvement on significant cultural projects in the Twin Cities area. The company has teamed with other architects of international acclaim and even served as Architect of Record on the new Guthrie Theater (with Jean Nouvel), the Minneapolis Downtown Library (with Cesar Pelli) and the new TCF Bank Stadium with Populous Architects.
A Commitment to Sustainable Design
Having completed major projects for private corporations and institutional clients who own and operate their own buildings, Architectural Alliance has incorporated sustainable principles into its design process since the beginning. Early corporate headquarter projects for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, Prudential Insurance and Cray Research incorporated green roofs and prairie restorations well before the current LEED certification system came into existence.
The Hennepin County Public Works building, designed by Architectural Alliance in 1994, was a catalyst for public policy for sustainable design in Minnesota. It became a pilot project for sustainable design that evolved into the Minnesota Sustainable Design Guide, which is now the standard for all projects funded by the state.
According to DeAngelo, it is not surprising that most of Architectural Alliance’s recent projects incorporate sustainable principles to meet LEED-certified standards. Over 90 percent of Architectural Alliance’s design team is LEED Accreditation Professionals, and the firm has made a commitment to the 2030 Challenge.
Architectural Alliance’s longstanding commitment to innovation, strategic team building and collaboration has led to the firm’s involvement in complex projects, which require an integrated approach to project delivery. The team commonly works with contractors to leverage building information modeling (BIM) into processes to reduce construction conflicts.
For the new Cancer and Cardiovascular Research Building at the University of Minnesota, Architectural Alliance’s approach enabled subcontractors to prefabricate building systems into the construction process, resulting in higher quality and reliability of systems at a lower cost to the owner.
For over four decades Architectural Alliance has been providing innovative architectural and interior design, strong project management and technical sophistication to a wide range of clients. The company pairs such qualities with a consistently collaborative team-based approach that fosters mutual respect and trust within the building industry. Architectural Alliance continues to bring expertise and a passion for interior design to the forefront.
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