Urban Design Group Principals Novack and Rhyne Invited as Guest Lecturers at Collin College's Institute of Hospitality and Culinary Education

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John Novack, FAIA, and Ken Rhyne, Allied AIA, both Principals with Urban Design Group, recently shared their expertise about designing hotels and restaurants with students at Collin College's Institute of Hospitality and Culinary Education in Frisco, TX.

Two nationally-recognized design experts recently spoke to students at Collin College's Institute of Hospitality and Culinary Education in Frisco, TX. John Novack, FAIA, Principal and Founder of Urban Design Group presented a lecture on Hotel Design and Development on May 3. Prior to that presentation, Ken Rhyne, Allied AIA, also a Principal with Urban Design Group gave a speech about Restaurant Design on April 8.

"A critical component in creating a successful restaurant or profitable hotel property is the overall design," said Novack. "By sharing our expertise, we hope to motivate those students interested in architectural and interior design to pursue their dreams. For students with other aspirations in the hospitality and food industries, our goal is to help them understand the importance and value that good design brings to their overall success."

Novack's presentation on Hotel Design and Development focused on destination resorts, and he illustrated Urban Design Group's experience by using three Disney hotel projects including the Animal Kingdom Lodge, Grand Californian Resort and Wilderness Lodge as examples. He compared and contrasted these theme park properties with the Four Winds Casino Resort in New Buffalo Township, Michigan.

"A well-designed place makes itself, and its surroundings, unforgettable," said Novack. "From the approach to the lobby, throughout the entire property, the guests should sense a design thread that runs throughout the spaces and identifies all areas as connected places with a unique identity."

"Our work for the Disney organization is a good example of creating new architectural experiences for the guests by creating a setting that is reminiscent of those which the user might associate with a pleasant past," explained Novack. "The buildings become both socially and culturally memory based. The process of design for these resorts begins by analyzing places that are well-known and fit the cultural context of the chosen theme. The resulting design evokes memories of other grand places in such a way that the new projects become an evocative place in and of itself. By comparison, the Four Winds Casino Resort's architectural expression and thematic design is rooted in the Potawatomi Indian culture by incorporating many significant elements such as the circle of life ceiling feature, extensive uses of eastern aromatic cedar, copper and arbors. The design is also flavored by the region and is reminiscent of a north woods lodge."

Novack is the Founder of Urban Design Group. With 45 years of experience, he brings a wealth of leadership and knowledge to the firm. His areas of expertise include hotel, resort, retail, mixed-use, recreational, residential, institutional, community and office projects.

When Novack opened the firm in 1975, only ten years after receiving his Bachelor of Architecture, he had already begun to build an impressive list of accomplishments. Beginning his career with Chicago-based C.F. Murphy Associates, he worked his way up to become Director of Design. Shortly thereafter he was invited to participate in a worldwide-traveling museum exhibition, 100 Years of Architecture in Chicago, featuring only 50 architects.

From showing at the Louvre and the British Museum of Art, to serving on the Public Art Committee of the Dallas Arts Commission, Novack's influence has been prevalent in both domestic and international arenas. Honored for his many accomplishments, he was admitted to The College of Fellows of The American Institute of Architects in 1994.

Rhyne presented a lecture on Restaurant Design for the students. "Our goal is to develop uniquely themed environments that enhance the preparation and presentation of the food while creating memorable and positive experiences for the patrons," explains Rhyne. "Our clients generally have a good sense of their menu, and that vision drives our design in terms of branding, signage, and overall interiors concepts. We help avoid pinch points in the kitchen that cause problems, and ensure proper lighting is used to create the right mood. We help owners consider all aspects upfront to ensure proper budgeting, so they aren't forced to compromise in the end. Our strength is in developing highly themed, one-of-a-kind restaurants and in creating new brand concepts for restaurants with multiple locations."

Rhyne has over 35 years of experience in conceptual architectural and interior design projects, including sustainable design, green architecture and the respectful infusion of Native American culture into his work. His areas of expertise include museums, cultural centers, libraries, resorts, casinos, restaurants and corporate offices. His award-winning projects include the Cultural Resources Center for the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) and the Kampen Eagle Wing Center in Lafayette, Indiana. He is nationally recognized through his published works, lectures and notable projects.

A Tuscarora Indian, Rhyne is a member of the American Indian Council of Architects and Engineers (AICAE). Rhyne is also an accomplished blues singer and harmonica player, and the Ken Rhyne Band was a Nammy (Native American Music Awards) nominee for Best Blues Album of the Year in 2003. Rhyne is a member of the Pfeiffer University Baseball Hall of Fame and was a minor league player for the Washington Senators and Texas Rangers.

Urban Design Group offers architectural, interior, planning and urban design services to its worldwide clientele from studios in Atlanta, Georgia, and Dallas, Texas. A market leader in the application and advancement of Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology, UDG's personnel work on a wide range of projects from hospitality and gaming to corporate and mixed-use.

In the firm's 35-year history, Urban Design Group has completed more than $6 Billion dollars in projects worldwide. The firm has received more than 80 design excellence awards and honors, 15 design competition awards and has been featured in over 100 magazine articles, newspaper pieces and design resource books. For more information, please visit http://www.urbandesigngroup.com.

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