A new religious retreat center and community is currently under construction in Sarpy County between Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Cloisters on the Platte is a multi-million-dollar Ignatian retreat community dreamt up and being built by TD Ameritrade founder, Joe Ricketts. The 931-acre oasis is nestled in the rolling hills along the Platte River situated roughly between I-80 on the west and Nebraska Highway 31 on the east. The Cloisters will be comprised of a chapel, the main retreat center, and seven guest lodges. Nishkian Monks is proud to partner with some of the world’s most respected team of architects and artisans to create a tranquil atmosphere that will blend seamlessly with the natural environment along the Platte.
Three of the seven guest lodges– the Campion Lodge, the Kircher Lodge, and the De Brebeuf Lodge—are being built by general contractor Big-D Signature with architectural design by JLF & Associates, and Nishkian Monks serving as the structural engineer of record. The design of the three lodges is inspired by traditional monastic life. The forms are simple and evocative of regional vernacular; the use of reclaimed materials evokes a sense of timelessness. The composition of smaller individual spaces linked by transparent connectors keeps one in touch with their surroundings, simultaneously providing modest contemplative spaces. The lodges are built at a relative level site with some building elements either very close to the water front of a lake or spanning over water features. The buildings are standard light frame wood construction with a combination of heavy stone and reclaimed timber/wood siding at the exterior walls. Steel moment frames and pre-engineered strong walls were required in various locations due to large walls of windows. Roof framing was accomplished with a blend of pre-engineered gang-nailed trusses and stick framing. The combined net area of the Campion Lodge, the Kircher Lodge, and the De Brebeuf Lodge for Lot 5, 6, and 7 is approximately 22,600 square feet. The three lodges are founded on conventional concrete strip and spread footings with bridged connections between structures.