UNL Barkley Memorial Center

Design Focused on Patients

Originally built in 1976, the Barkley Memorial Center has served as the home of the Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for nearly 50 years. The building houses three programs: special education, audiology, and speech-language pathology. To support these programs, the clinic spaces offers real-life experience for students. Completed in 2023, a major addition and renovation project transformed the center into a state-of-the-art speech, language, and hearing clinic and training facility for speech-language and audiology students.

Project Details

Lincoln, NE

16,900 SF Renovation
13,500 SF Addition

Scope of Work
Renovation + Addition

Date of Completion
March 2023

Adjacent to the gross motor and life skills rooms, the design team created a new landscaped plaza that, once fully matured, will provide a beautiful backdrop to those rooms and the lobby. Within the plaza, a labyrinth offers an outdoor space for focus and relaxation, inspired by client discussions during visioning sessions about their experiences with students and patients. Labyrinths are known to promote relaxation, clarity, reflection, and increased insight.

The original architecture features a distinctive “Brutalist” style, popular from the 1950s through the 1970s. The design team explored several stylistic options, balancing between making a statement that differentiated from the original and using cues from the original, to blend seamlessly. Collaborating with the University, the decision was ultimately made to design an addition that harmonized with the existing structure while creating a dynamic, easily identifiable entry with a covered drop-off area for visitors.



Photography by Corey Gaffer

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