BBS Architects Engineers

Diocese of Des Moines

Renowned German- American architect Mies van der Rohe designed the Home Federal Savings & Loan building in Downtown Des Moines in 1962. The building is an international style masterpiece considered by many historians to be among Mies’ finest works. After the Savings & Loan Crisis closed the financial institution, angel investors purchased and donated the building to the Diocese of Des Moines in 1992 and became the Diocesan Pastoral Center.

In 2014 the Catholic Diocese of Des Moines enlisted BBS Architects | Engineers to conduct a thorough assessment of the facility and recommend a menu of options for repairs and renovations. Working closely with Diocesan staff, our team of architects and engineers developed design solutions intended to preserve and restore the original character of the historic building, improve the functionality of the building well into the future, and meet the project budget and schedule priorities set forth by the Diocese. Designing and executing these solutions required a keen attention to detail by everyone involved in the project.

The exterior façade, which had faded to a chalky gray, received a new high-performance paint in the building’s original stunning black color.  Single-pane windows that were prone to cracking and leaking were upgraded with reconstructed steel frames, new glazing seals, and laminated high-strength glazing. Damaged granite site pavers, granite floor tiles, and travertine wall panels were replaced with matching new materials. BBS mechanical and electrical engineers crafted elegant solutions for modernized building systems, like retrofitting original lights with new LED lamps, intended to improve energy efficiency and comfort.

Owner: Diocese of Des Moines
Architectural and Engineering Design Services: BBS Architects | Engineers
Consulting Architects: Harboe Architects
General Contractor: Neumann Brothers, Inc.
Construction Completed: 2018

Photo Credit: Cameron Campbell Integrated Studio

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