The Treehouse Apartments Win 2024 Award for Excellence in Preservation

We are delighted to announce that the Treehouse Apartments renovation project has been awarded the 2024 Award for Excellence in Preservation by Preservation Iowa. This prestigious award celebrates our dedication to preserving Iowa’sarchitectural heritage while modernizing The Birches, The Oaks, and The Elmwood, three century-old buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

The renovation, led by Substance Architecture, maintained the original apartment layouts while introducing new two-bedroom units, elevators, and fire protection systems to enhance accessibility and safety. Exterior improvements included an expanded surface parking lot, community patios, a dedicated dog park, and electric charging stations in the updated parking garage. Additionally, a dilapidated stairway was transformed into a vibrant pedestrian connection featuring public art.

Substance Architecture embraces the opportunity to protect, restore, and reimagine historic buildings. Historic architecture represents a record of our history and immense amounts of embodied carbon, making their preservation a significant contribution to the richness and sustainability of the built environment. Our extensive experience in historic preservation and adaptive reuse ranges from small historic post offices to heavy timber warehouse conversions and the rehabilitation of modern historic structures. We also collaborate with architectural historians to help our clients obtain state and federal tax credits. 

The Treehouse Apartments project exemplifies how historic preservation can seamlessly blend with contemporary urban living, enriching the cultural and architectural heritage of Des Moines.