About Us

ABOUT CUNINGHAM GROUP

 HISTORY

When John Cuningham founded Cuningham Group in 1968, he developed a model of architecture that is highly inclusive and incorporates extensive client, consultant, engineer, and contractor participation. Nurtured by John and a committed team of leaders, we have expanded locations, services, and markets over the decades to meet a growing demand from respected local, regional, national, and international clients.

Cuningham Group’s Founding Story — By John Cuningham

October 1968

I always tell people that I became an architect because of James Stageberg. He was my professor at the University of Minnesota as well as a mentor and friend. He hired me immediately after graduation in 1962 and I became a partner in his firm at age 27.

Firm’s First Award

January 1971
Firm’s First Award

The Lake Grace Recreational Pavilion in Jonathan, Minnesota is awarded the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Award.

Vision-Based Planning™

January 1972

John Cuningham received a grant from the Ford Foundation and created Consensus Planning, an interactive, planning model which set the foundation for everything the firm has accomplished in K-12 Educational Design.

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Chelsea Woods

June 1975
Chelsea Woods

More than four decades later, one of Cuningham Group’s earliest projects is still a thriving community.

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Merrill Mansion

February 1978
Merrill Mansion

In 1978, Cuningham Group had its office in the Eugene A. Merrill House in Minneapolis.

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Cuningham Architecture

September 1983
Cuningham Architecture

The firm formally changes name to Cuningham Architects.

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Breck School Chapel of the Holy Spirit

September 1984
Breck School Chapel of the Holy Spirit

Cuningham Group designs Breck School’s iconic Chapel of the Holy Spirit in Golden Valley, Minnesota.

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Lehmberg Gazebo

November 1984
Lehmberg Gazebo

Cuningham Group receives its first AIA Honor Award from Minnesota AIA for work on the Lehmberg Gazebo in Saint Louis Park, Minnesota.

Grand Casino Mille Lacs

June 1991
Grand Casino Mille Lacs

Cuningham Group teams up with the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians and the newly incorporated Grand Casino, Inc., one of the largest gaming companies in the United States today, to create the original Grand Casino Mille Lacs.

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First Major Education Award

February 1992
First Major Education Award

Receives the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) Shirley Cooper Award for Design Excellence in Schools

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Firm Wins IFRAA Award

November 1992
Firm Wins IFRAA Award

The House of Prayer Retreat Center, designed by Cuningham Group and led by John Cuningham, won the Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art and Architecture (IFRAA) Design Award for Religious Architecture and the Minnesota Society of the AIA Honor Award.

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Epic Systems Corporation

June 1996
Epic Systems Corporation

Begins designing the corporate headquarters of Epic Systems Corporation in Madison and Verona, Wisconsin.

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Los Angeles

July 1996
Los Angeles

The firm expands to California and begins working with major entertainment clients.

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STAR TREK: The Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton

December 1998
STAR TREK: The Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton

STAR TREK: The Experience™ at the Las Vegas Hilton brings the magic of Hollywood to the Las Vegas entertainment market.

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Urban Currents

June 1999
Urban Currents

Launches a monthly community forum, Metro Matters – now called Urban Currents, as a way to discuss important local issues.

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Heinävaara Elementary School opens

September 1999
Heinävaara Elementary School opens

Juhani Rouvinen, the mayor of Heinävaara, Finland, and architect Antero Turkki attended a conference in Helsinki where they listened to a representative from Cuningham Group speak about the latest research on how children learn in different ways and what that meant for school design.

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Monograph on Sustainable Design

March 2001
Monograph on Sustainable Design

Cuningham Group is commissioned by NCARB to write the first monograph on Sustainable Design.

People’s Republic of China

January 2002

Cuningham Group opens an office in Beijing, China, launching its themed destination design work in Asia.

Republic of Korea

August 2005
Republic of Korea

Cuningham Group opens office in Seoul, Korea, expanding its themed destination work in Asia.

Lotte World

July 2007
Lotte World

Lotte World, located in Seoul, Korea, is the world’s largest indoor theme park. It opens after a multi-million-dollar renewal project led by Cuningham Group.

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Arkansas House of Prayer

February 2008
Arkansas House of Prayer

A meditative space designed to blend into the surrounding natural area.

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Themed Entertainment Sustainability Summit®

April 2008
Themed Entertainment Sustainability Summit®

Hosts the inaugural TESS® event (Themed Entertainment Sustainability Summit).

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40th Anniversary

July 2008
40th Anniversary

Celebrates 40th anniversary by holding a Habitat for Humanity “Brush with Kindness” event.

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Lompoc Valley Medical Center

January 2010
Lompoc Valley Medical Center

Cuningham Group was hired to build a replacement hospital and challenged with balancing the needs of the hospital against rising construction costs while maintaining a high level of quality.

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Gold Nugget Award of Merit

July 2012
Gold Nugget Award of Merit

The Avenue in Hollywood, California, receives a Gold Nugget Award of Merit.

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Alpensia Resort, Site of 2018 Winter Olympics

August 2012
Alpensia Resort, Site of 2018 Winter Olympics

Cuningham Group is the designer of the home of the 2018 Olympics in South Korea.

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Douglas & Nancy Barnhart Cancer Center

September 2012
Douglas & Nancy Barnhart Cancer Center

The patient-centered design offers unique linear accelerator treatment rooms.

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San Diego & Phoenix

February 2013

The firm expands its healthcare market reach with new offices in San Diego and Phoenix.

Firm of the Year

September 2013
Firm of the Year

Awarded Firm of the Year by AIA Minnesota.

Alexandria Area High School

September 2014
Alexandria Area High School

The innovative school was designed in collaboration with the Alexandria community.

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The BOATHOUSE® at Disney Springs

April 2015
The BOATHOUSE® at Disney Springs

The BOATHOUSE® opens at Walt Disney World® Resort in Disney Springs®, Orlando. The highly successful entertainment attraction is one of five restaurants that Cuningham Group has designed on the property.

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First Hotel in Wisconsin to Attain LEED Gold®

April 2015
First Hotel in Wisconsin to Attain LEED Gold®

Potawatomi Hotel & Casino is the first casino hotel in Wisconsin to attain LEED® Gold certification.

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Epic’s Deep Space

December 2016
Epic’s Deep Space

Epic Systems’ Deep Space is the world’s largest sub-surface auditorium.

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Northfield at Stapleton

November 2017
Northfield at Stapleton

Designs first affordable apartment project using Denver’s Revolving Affordable Housing Loan Fund.

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Pathways Innovation Center & Roosevelt High School

December 2017
Pathways Innovation Center & Roosevelt High School

Pathways Innovation Center & Roosevelt High School is awarded the Project of Distinction by the Association for Learning Environments (A4LE).

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Cuningham Group Celebrates 50 Years!

October 2018

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Markets

Cuningham Group is organized into specialized market groups to provide clients with dedicated teams of professionals focused on meeting the specific needs of each project and the marketplace. We see crossover value in all of the work we do and believe each project informs the next, leading to more comprehensive design solutions and healthier communities.

 

Live
Cuningham Group delivers well-crafted lifestyle experiences that meet developer demands. Our designs attract tenants seeking amenity-rich living and communities seeking attractive, innovative new properties.

Learn
Through our participation in research on the link between the physical environment and the way students learn, we provide our clients with valuable insights into how 21st century schools should be designed to best support student learning.

Worship
Our process recognizes that, in addition to being places to practice religious traditions and find humility, strength, and inspiration, these facilities are also a focal point for community activity and education.

Work
Today’s workplace environments are evolving faster than ever. Organizations expect work spaces to provide motivation and foster productivity while presenting opportunities to meet, gather, socialize, and relax. Cuningham Group’s broad experience informs innovative design solutions tailored to each client’s needs.

Heal
We optimize the potential of each healthcare project by aligning design creativity around our client’s key business metrics, strategies and healing mission, whether it be community-based, ambulatory, or acute care.

Play
Few teams can match the level of entertainment and leisure design experience reflected in our portfolio. We understand how to design immersive spaces where people play, stay, shop and dine, and aim to provide functionality and ease for employees and operators.

Design Process

Design Process

At Cuningham Group, we believe that creativity and innovation are central to our mission, and are best served through a collaborative, inclusive process that engages each and every key stakeholder. In other words, our team leverages a model emphasizing collective rather than individual brilliance for unparalleled place making. We have a deep conviction that the places we design tell our client’s story and celebrate the experience, both environmentally and architecturally. To succeed in this approach, we depend on the power of listening and asking the right questions to reveal the inherent story of each client, in line with their vision and objectives. We know that the built environment can be created in harmony with natural systems, and, in our eyes, beauty is integral to sustainable design. We understand the power of new technology to share useful information, and in the wisdom of collective experience. The design process at Cuningham Group is holistic in approach and skillfully embraces all available information and participants to create truly original projects for our clients.

Co-Creative Process

Cuningham Group’s co-creative Visioning and Design Workshop process is an engaging, flexible, and efficient process that invites our clients to join the creative team. First, clients are asked to envision a new kind of future and then, to participate in developing a conceptual design in real time (3-D) based on a shared vision.

A Shared Vision
The purpose of a Vision Statement is to provide an overall guide for the entire process, establish priorities, align resources with priorities, and facilitate efficient decision making. Ultimately, the result is a rock solid foundation upon which to develop and implement the design approach.

Experience
Cuningham Group has facilitated more than 15 Vision-based Design Workshops for innovative, forward-thinking clients from Maine to California. Each one has been unique to the particular needs of the community, and has helped build trusting relationships throughout the design process. This fosters the kind of trust necessary to move projects forward with speed, precision, and confidence.

The experience of Eanes ISD in working with Cuningham Group to develop a facility master plan has been a challenging and rewarding experience. It was truly masterful how they took the thoughts and ideas that were literally lining the walls of a room with Post-it notes and butcher block paper and synthesized them into a cohesive and comprehensive set of parameters immediately approved by our Board.

Their approach included involvement of District administrators, principals, teachers, students, and community members for a full range of input from our stakeholders. The positive momentum is being used as the springboard for the District’s 2014 bond proposition.

Bob Cervi, Director of Maintenance and Operations
Eanes Independent School District


Every Building Tells a Story®

Our Every Building Tells a Story® philosophy emphasizes one-of-a-kind design solutions, and perfectly complements our desire to engage clients in a collaborative, team-oriented process. Together, with our clients, we aim to understand the project vision and the story they want to tell. Our designers then extract creative metaphors from that information and from the character of each site to inspire all aspects of project design, from basic forms and shapes, to finishing materials and colors. Through this approach, clients benefit from unique, innovative and memorable environments and experiences that set them apart from competition.

SUSTAINABILITY

Our projects are designed for the betterment of communities and society as a whole, and sustainability and green design are a natural extension of this core ideology. To us, sustainability is more than a checklist of LEED® points. We approach sustainability with a strong commitment to creating a better environment at all levels and scales. In each design, we consider value to the owner/client, stewardship of our planet and its resources, the wellness of those who occupy our projects, vitality of our neighborhoods, and avenues for enjoyment and learning that a project can bring to its occupants and visitors.

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