Design Firm Honored for Ford Nature Center Project

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – DLR Group has been honored with the American Architecture Award for its work on projects spanning multiple sectors, including the transformation of Mill Creek MetroParks’ Ford Nature Center.

Ford Nature Center was redeveloped from a stone mansion designed in 1913 while still preserving the historic character of the structure. The project, recognized in the Museums and Cultural Buildings category, included the addition of a 1,500-square-feet gallery tucked underneath the original structure and stretching out behind it to conceal it into the landscape. 

The renovation included a new staircase and elevator, new public restrooms, a gift shop, a bird feeding glass wall viewing area, a history room, an outdoor classroom, the Axtman Trail for All People and a planted terrace.

The facility reopened in April following the $4 million project.

“Being honored by the American Architecture Awards is a testament to the passion and commitment of our team,” said DLR Group Managing Principal and CEO Steven McKay. “These recognitions affirm our dedication to crafting spaces that leave a lasting impact on communities. It’s a proud moment that fuels our excitement to continue pushing boundaries and delivering innovated solutions.”

In addition to Ford Nature Center, DLR Group was honored for its design for the upcoming Minnesota USA Expo 2027, with a proposed structure to link the Mall of America to surrounding areas in Minneapolis. The master plan for that project was recognized in the Exposition category.

DLR Group also received three honorable mentions for designs for La Sierra University’s New Museum and Amphitheater project in Riverside, California; The SAFE Credit Union Performing Arts Center in Sacramento, California; and the Pinal County Attorney’s Office in Florence, Arizona.

The awards, presented by the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design, along with the European Center for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies and the Metropolitan Arts Press, were given to DLR Group at a gala awards reception dinner in Chicago on Wednesday.

DLR Group is an architectural design services firm with offices across the U.S., including Cleveland and Columbus, and in Shanghai.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.