Municipal Services Center

PrizeHonorable Mention in Architectural Design /
Firm LocationIowa City, United States
CompanyNeumann Monson Architects
ClientCity of Des Moines, Iowa

This municipality operates its field services from several outdated facilities scattered around the city. In order to develop interdepartmental teams and cooperation, and to realize all potential organizational efficiencies (cost savings estimated at nearly $2M/year and $3M one time), these services are consolidated and centrally located into a single campus location. Phase 1, 113,000 GSF, accommodates Public Works, Parks and Recreation, and five other departments. Ultimately, 397,000 GSF will be required to consolidate the all field departments into one facility. Organizationally, the building contains two components—administrative offices and operational facilities. Two strategies form the basis of the layout. First, the lab and storage spaces were organized into ‘saddlebags’ flanking the large central vehicle storage bay. This represents an evolution in the layout of typical municipal facilities. Secondly, the administrative ‘bar’ was pulled away from the operational components and connected with two ‘bridges’. This gesture creates a glass enclosed courtyard that allows light to penetrate into the center of the facility creates an amenity for building occupants. Due to economy and durability, the exterior of the facility is primarily precast concrete with curtainwall infill. The precast panels have been pulled apart to articulate otherwise long, blank facades. The northwest facing office façade has been fully glazed and screened with a system of horizontal aluminum tubes and vertical fabric fins to mitigate direct sun (and glare) from entering the building throughout much of the annual solar cycle. Nearly all spaces have access to an exterior wall and operable windows for ventilation when conditions allow.