The 2019 Docomomo US Commercial Design Award of Excellence is given for the restoration of the Des Moines Catholic Pastoral Center, originally built as the Home Federal Savings & Loan bank building. In the late 1950s, bank president Jonathan Fletcher and director Joseph Chamberlain traveled throughout the U.S. looking at buildings and interviewing architects before ultimately selecting Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Set back from the busy street corner, Mies’ design consists of an open, granite-paved plaza that flows seamlessly into the main level space, defined by plaster ceilings, travertine, steel and clear glass. The upper floors consist of black painted steel spandrels and tinted glass windows with exterior steel mullion elements to modulate the window bays. The building was threatened with demolition in the early 1990s, but architecture enthusiasts around the world helped bring attention to its plight and a group of “angel investors” saved the building and deeded it to the Catholic Diocese of Des Moines.
The owner’s primary goal was to “provide a working environment for current and future needs for the next 50 years,” which the design team managed to achieve while also respecting Mies’ original design. Jury member and Docomomo US President Theo Prudon noted the challenges of restoring a building that has been adapted for a different use and commended the team for “making the building shine again with minimal intervention.” Jury chair Peyton Hall concurred, explaining that “Mies provides very little latitude for compatible change over time. This work preserves the material and visual character, exterior and interior, through careful material repairs and limited replacements.”
For More Information, Visit our Catholic Pastoral Center project page.
For More Information:
Historic Rehabilitation Design & Construction Team:
Architect & Engineer of Record: BBS Architects | Engineers
Historic Preservation Architect: Harboe Architects PC
Landscape Architect: Genus Landscape Architecture
Architectural Historian: Jennifer James Communications LC
Historic Preservation Consultant: Stephen J. Stimmel
Construction Manager: Neumann Brothers, Inc.