The Wood Products Council (WPC) awarded architecture and engineering firm LEO A DALY a Regional Excellence award for its design of SAC Federal Credit Union’s headquarters in Papillion, Neb. The award, given by WPC’s WoodWorks initiative, recognizes extraordinary buildings that exemplify the beauty, versatility, and structural performance of wood.

The SAC design is notable for its use of wood as a structural and aesthetic element. Nine 30-inch deep, 60-foot tall white-oak glue-laminated columns support the building’s signature space—a four-story, glass-enclosed atrium and ornamental staircase. Made from the same white-oak glulams as the columns, the staircase appears to float—supported only by two tension rods connected to a hidden beam in the ceiling.

“The new SAC headquarters is one of the most dramatic, unique spaces in the Omaha metropolitan area, and it truly lends itself to community use. The volume of the spaces, their relationship to the outside, and the choice of materials—in particular the floating staircase and the choice of white-oak glue-laminated beams for the curtain wall—make it one-of-a-kind,” said Martin Janousek, architect with LEO A DALY.

The headquarters is designed to create a sense of warmth and openness, while promoting a healthy work environment. The public stair encourages vertical movement through the building without the use of elevators, while inviting staff and members into all levels. The 94,000 square-foot, four-story structure accommodates SAC’s 250 employees, and consolidates all corporate functions into one facility.

The building’s LEED strategies include the use of sustainable materials and responsible energy-efficient mechanical and lighting systems. Two hundred and eighteen, 300-foot geothermal wells, paired with radiant heating and chilled-beam radiant cooling, regulate the heating and cooling needs of the building and reduce related energy use. Energy-efficient fluorescent and LED light fixtures, daylight harvesting in public spaces, multi-level switching, dimming controls, and occupancy sensors further reduce energy consumption.

This is the third major design award LEO A DALY has received for the design of SAC Federal Credit Union. In late 2014, the project received a Merit Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Nebraska chapter, and an Excellence in Architecture Award from AIA’s Central States Region.