Substance Architecture


Temple Canopy

Des Moines, Iowa

In the heart of downtown Des Moines, a small plaza area between the new downtown branch of the Des Moines Public library and the historic Temple for the Performing Arts is the site of a public chess garden and performance area designed by internationally renowned artist Siah Armajani. Creation of this plaza art installation required the removal and redesign of the small seating area adjacent to the Starbucks coffeehouse in the Temple.

To avoid distracting from the art installation, the conceptual goal for the new canopy was to make it light and minimal, yet durable and maintenance-free. Laminated glass panels, with a white ceramic coating for shading make up the plane of the canopy. The material makes a reference to the library’s two-story glass wall bordering the plaza, and the module of the library glass was utilized to weave the order of the minimal library onto the rather monolithic masonry wall of the Temple for the Performing Arts. Stainless steel rods with a ¼ inch diameter both suspend the glass from above and anchor the glass from below to counter wind uplift.

Unexpectedly light yet unassuming, the new Temple for Performing Arts Starbucks canopy compliments adjacent architecture, provides needed shelter, and exists on its own as an artful object floating above the plaza.


Merit Award, 2007
American Institute of Architects - Iowa Chapter


Iowa Architect, Summer 2012
Iowa Architect, 07:262

© 2022 substance architecture. All rights reserved.