About the award
Allison Dvorak, AIA, has shaped her young career by leveraging design principles that focus on the benefits architecture provides others. She is a leader in dignified and inclusive design and a champion for community development through meaningful design engagement.
After earning her Master of Architecture from North Dakota State University, Dvorak was tasked with documenting more than 200 bridges on Native American land throughout the country for a civil engineering firm. That experience, which she gained outside of a typical design firm, broadened her view on the ways architects can affect change in the built environment by working closely with communities.
Her human-centered design process advocates for anyone who will inhabit the spaces she envisions. For her thesis, she designed a micro city for families with children who were newly diagnosed with autism. Engaging with such children informed her design of a training facility as a safe, focused environment for families developing functional living skills. That approach continues in her work as the director of facility development for Sioux Falls’ Avera Health system, which operates more than 300 locations in 100 discrete communities.
In her role, she has overseen the development of a 25,200-gross-square-foot addiction care center, a two-building campus that arrived in 2019 as communities across the country began more openly addressing the issues of addiction and mental health. During construction, when the center’s staff raised security concerns for both patients and staff, Dvorak led them through a detailed security assessment and provided a wide range of options that did not detract from the dignity of the program.
Creating and nurturing connections between Sioux Falls and South Dakota has long been one of Dvorak’s priorities. To that end, she served as vice president for the Sioux Falls Design Center and has been an eager contributor to its events. When the Sioux Falls Skatepark Association was founded in 2017, Dvorak quickly joined its team of volunteers who are determined to shift the perception of skateboarding by building the city’s first concrete skatepark. She turned to her architectural connections to complete feasibility studies and administer public forums in support of the park, which is anticipated to be completed in 2024.
She joined the AIA South Dakota Board of Directors shortly after achieving licensure, becoming the chapter’s youngest woman president last year. As she leads the chapter, she remains focused on highlighting the value of architecture in the state through focused community outreach while supporting members who are eligible for the Young Architect Award and elevation to fellowship.
In her designs, Dvorak works to ensure that patients feel their needs are being met and that they matter. She embodies the concept of a well-rounded architect, one who contributes meaningfully to the built environment and the communities she serves.