Arlington, Va.-based Associated General Contractors of America honored a sprawling corporate facility built 73 feet below grade in Verona, Wis., with 2014's Grand Award at its annual conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Thursday. Janesville, Wis.-based contractor JP Cullen, builder of the 800,000-sq-ft Epic Deep Space Auditorium, received the Alliant Build America Grand Award for its work on the project. AGC additionally honored 22 other firms in other categories.

These projects exemplify the best characteristics the construction industry has to offer – craftsmanship, creativity and dedication,” said AGC President Al Landes, also president of Herzog Contracting Corp. in St. Joseph, Mo. “These contractors have completed projects that demonstrate an unparalleled level of innovation and excellence in our industry.”

In the case of Epic, a facility featuring a cave-like facade and acres of green roofing, plans that called for a 7,500-seat, 405,000-sq-ft auditorium swelled to include 11,400 seats and 800,000 square feet for additional conference, training and office space. Though the project doubled in size, planners maintained its original schedule, with JP Cullen delivering completing the facility in 40 months.

In addition to honoring builders, AGC released “Modeling Excellence,” a summary of programs and initiatives contributing to the success of winning projects. Methods included lean construction, modeling technology, mock-ups and prefabrication.