611 Fifth Street Core and Shell Renovation

Location
Des Moines, Iowa
Year
2022
Size
109,758 SF

Client
Knapp Properties

Project Team
Todd Garner
Tim Hickman
Yasmine Killeen

611 Fifth Street Core and Shell Renovation – Substance Architecture
611 Fifth Street Core and Shell Renovation – Substance Architecture

611 Fifth Street Core and Shell Renovation

This five-story downtown mid-century office building was originally constructed in the early 1950s and underwent extensive exterior modifications in the 1980s which removed much of its original character. Inspired by the original design, this reimagined multi-tenant office building once again stands ready to meet the needs of the modern office tenant.

At its most basic, the renovation included updating the core and shell of the building and the reintroduction of “ribbon” windows, part of the original 1954 design. The exterior envelope has been upgraded to exceed today’s energy code, a new front entry established, and connections to the skywalk improved. Inside, new elevators were added; the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection systems were completely replaced; and a beautiful rooftop overlooking downtown Des Moines was created.

Let There Be Light

Like many buildings of its time, 611 5th Avenue was “modernized” in the 1980s to reflect ever-shifting economic, cultural, and workplace changes. Most notably, the original “ribbon” windows were replaced, reducing the amount of glass and, with it, the amount of interior daylight. This was offset by the addition of new fluorescent lighting. Utilizing historic tax credits, the restoration reintroduced the "ribbon windows" to increase the amount of daylight and views within the building and bring the exterior back closer to its original appearance.

The New Working Class

This project modernized the building, offering tenants Class A amenities while maintaining the unique mid-century charm and architectural integrity. The multi-tenant building offers a shared training room, a shared conference room, and a new rooftop patio and is directly connected via skywalk to adjacent amenities including the Iowa Events Center, Wells Fargo Arena, YMCA, and restaurants.

611 Fifth Street Core and Shell Renovation – Substance Architecture

West elevation - existing and completed                                                                   

611 Fifth Street Core and Shell Renovation – Substance Architecture

Building exterior - 1954

611 Fifth Street Core and Shell Renovation – Substance Architecture

Building exterior - 1980s

611 Fifth Street Core and Shell Renovation – Substance Architecture

Building exterior - after renovation

Consultants

MEP Engineer (Design-Build)
The Waldinger Corporation
Structural Engineer
KPFF
Landscape Architect
Genus Landscape Architects
General Contractor
The Weitz Company

Photography by Corey Gaffer