Substance Architecture

St. Kilda Collective

West Des Moines, Iowa

This 7,000 square foot historic rehabilitation project consists of a full-service restaurant, bakery and event space that is housed in an early 1900’s automobile showroom and maintenance garage located on a main commercial street within a historic neighborhood in central Iowa.

Character-defining features of the building shell – which include original brick walls, a finished plaster showroom with large storefront windows, clear spanning bowstring trusses and an exposed barrel roof – were long neglected and rehabilitated to their original state.

The restaurant deploys a simple organizational strategy consisting of a series of freestanding service volumes to provide visual separation between public and support spaces while respecting the rhythm of the clear spanning trusses overhead. These elements sit independently beneath the vast roof structure and inboard from the masonry building shell creating a clear delineation between old and new.

MEP systems were modernized throughout and carefully integrated into the exposed wood roof structure. Rigorously spaced skylights were inserted between truss bays driving daylight deep into the building and highlighting a focused material palette below.

Corey Gaffer


Excellence in Interior Design - Merit Award, 2021
American Institute of Architects - Central States Awards

Best Commercial Project - Preservation at Its Best, 2021
Preservation Iowa


Iowa Architect, Winter 2022
Iowa Architect, Spring 2021

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