Substance Architecture


Brownells Office & Showroom

Grinnell, Iowa

For over 70 years, Brownells, Inc. has distributed parts and accessories out of their Montezuma, Iowa distribution facility. This 3rd generation, family owned company, following continuous growth and increased market demands, found itself land-locked and out of space.

The remedy was a new distribution, office, and retail building in nearby Grinnell, Iowa. Located immediately adjacent to Interstate-80, the new facility provides easier access for both customers and shipping, an enhanced retail experience, and greater accessibility to potential staff.

substance designed the office and retail experience for the new campus, attached to a 200,000 square foot warehouse. Taking advantage of a series of views from the interstate and nodding to the direction of their founding location in Montezuma, the building is divided into two abutting, slope-roofed forms located at the southeast corner of the warehouse building.

Toward the interstate is a two story office space with a shallow north/south floor plate affording access to daylight and views. At 22,000 square feet, it provides a combination of open and enclosed offices and meeting spaces to support the various functions of this growing business.

The adjacent, more generous, double height, 6,000 square foot retail experience provides Brownells with space not previously afforded: a dedicated showroom and technical learning center. The high volume space not only provides an identifiable presence from the interstate, it allows for the display of various gaming trophies and significant firearms from the collections of the Brownell family. Clerestory glazing allows daylight into the space without depleting desired display space from the perimeter.


Iowa Architect, Fall 2015

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