This iconic office building in downtown Des Moines was originally designed by Gordon Bunshaft while with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM). The building was completed in 1965 and received an AIA Honor Award for Architecture in 1967. Five decades later, the building won another Honor Award for its revitalization, in addition to a Docomomo Modernism in America award and an American Architecture Award from The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies Metropolitan Arts Press.
As the building aged, the owner consciously respected the importance of its design, and consequently, most of the significant architectural characteristics were still intact almost 50 years later. However, a number of finishes and materials had deteriorated, and the original building systems were extremely problematic. Furthermore, the building needed critical life-safety and ADA improvements.
The concepts that distinguished the building were preserved and augmented with energy efficient systems. Installing these systems required substantial demolition of walls and finishes, including the exquisitely detailed executive suites. Following the significant demolition, the walls and finishes were meticulously and elegantly reconstructed.
A majority of the original furnishings were selected or custom designed by Bunshaft and SOM. A number of these pieces continue to be used in harmony with open office workstations that provide a modern workplace. The original building fused workplace with this significant art collection — creating a museum within an office. After the renovation, the artwork remains a critical part of the experience.