The Des Moines Rental Market Demands, Fleming Apartments Deliver

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Downtown Des Moines’ Historic Fleming Building offers small studios that live large! A market survey conducted by the development team revealed several key factors that renters were looking for in a downtown residence.  They want to have their own space downtown that is affordable for a single person.  Smaller kitchens, bedrooms + bathrooms were acceptable as long as the living space was large + well lit.  Studio units could hit the mark if designed well.

Slingshot began with research + analysis of studio units in other new urban residential projects.  We found that studios were typically left over areas of the floor plate laid out without much thought of how someone might live in the space or arrange their furniture.

The Fleming studio pushes all of the non-living area functions toward the corridor in a compact footprint allowing for a 200 sf living space amounting to 50% of the 400 sf unit.  This arrangement allows for spacious living or a combination of home office or dining that would typically not be an option in studio living.  Successful proof of our concept is defined in the marketplace where over half the units in the building were studio units and all were leased within a month.

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River Place – MU1

2013.12.16 MU1 - NW View at Dusk

We have just submitted for permit a new mixed-use building, MU1, for downtown Cedar Falls, IA as part of the River Place Development. We are excited to design this mixed-use building for the development as they look to activate the zone between historic Main St. and the Cedar River. MU1 is the second building in the development and it aims to bring local businesses to State St. while also providing modern downtown living opportunities. The development has plans for another mixed-use building to the east, a new hotel to the north and a large gathering plaza, in the center, that binds the development together.

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MU1 will be a 4-story building with commercial and business zoning for the lower 2 levels and residential on the upper 2 levels. The street level at the south portion of the building makes strong ties to Main St. by applying a similar storefront strategy with set-back entries and large windows into the tenant spaces and also utilizes similar brick types. As the building shifts to residential above, the materiality takes a more contemporary approach with a vertical cement board pattern. The north end of the building, adjacent to the future plaza, makes a more modern statement for the development as a large geometric mass of new masonry types that is visible from Main St.

Z:Current Project2013.27 Trilix12 RevitRiver Place MU1 - CEN

One of the more distinct design elements of MU1 are the balconies for the residential units. We were inspired by the industrial trusses of the bridges that span across the Cedar River close by and decided to implement a similar structural system for the cantilevered balconies.

Exile Brewery Wins 2013 AIA Craft Award


Slingshot Architecture has been recognized by the American Institute of Architects Iowa Chapter as a recipient of the 2013 Craft Award. The award recognizes excellence in inventiveness + execution + incorporation of craft into our built environment. Special thanks to RCS Millwork & Ball Team LLC. for their expert involvement in the project making this award possible. See what the jurors had to say in the AIA award brochure link below.

Exile Brewery – Craft Award Pages

For more on this project check it out on the web


Gateway Retail Building

Construction is underway for the Gateway Retail project. This project takes advantage of the non-perpendicular site at the corner of 17th and Ingersoll Ave. We are very excited for the impact this project will have at the corner and the compliment it will be to the Gateway Lofts which shares the site.


NE 3D View

NE 3D View

Site Plan

Site Plan


SE 3D View

The project is scheduled to be completed at the end on November. Stay tuned for more updates during construction.

KC Ops Centre – The walls come down!

Our first project in Kansas City, MO is off to a fast start! Earlier this week, construction commenced on an exterior renovation of an existing office building. We are excited to see this project take shape in the next few weeks.

Final Design Rendering

Final Design Rendering

How do you add daylight into a precast concrete panel that was not engineered for windows? The design solution to adding daylight was to remove the entire concrete panel and insert new storefront windows in the void. Below, you can see the first panel being removed. The impact of these new openings will make this space very desirable to the future tenants!

1st panel removed!

1st panel removed!


Norden Hall Rowhouse – Moving Day!

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September 26th is fast approaching and everything is quickly moving forward to prepare the Rowhouse at 709 E. Locust and its new site, 425 E. Grand, for the big moving day. At the old site, the temporary supports are in place under the first floor joist and the grade has been leveled below, previously the basement. Norden Hall is prepped and ready for the moving equipment to roll under and haul it to its new home.

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At the new site, footings have been poured and the CMU basement foundation is being set into place. It has been great to see the progress, especially in the last two weeks. Norden Hall is moving and we hope that everyone will come out to watch on Thursday, September 26th, moving begins at midnight.









Norden Hall Rowhouse

On the west edge of the State of Iowa Capitol Grounds at 709 East Locust sits a modest, yet historically significant row house that was built in 1894 in the historically known neighborhood of East Fort Des Moines. The rowhouse, Norden Hall, is one of the last standing row houses in town and will be spared demolition as a result of the dedication of Christensen Development working with city and state level stakeholders. The plan is to move Norden Hall from the west entry of the Capitol grounds to a new site at 425 E. Grand at the corner of E. 4th and E. Grand in the East Village.


In the past several months, we have been working closely with Jake Christensen, the developer, to plan for the rehabilitation of the row house, secure state historic tax credits and coordinate the relocation. We are proud to be a part of preserving the historic fabric of our community, as well as, excited to rediscover Norden Hall’s potential as part of the East Village of Des Moines.

425 E. Grand

DSCN7336The demolition of the west adjacent building, 707 E. Locust, has been completed and now the rowhouse is waiting for the new site to be ready. The big move is scheduled for mid-to-late September and we hope that everyone will come out and join us to watch the historic move.




Des Moines Social Club – Progress Update


Since 2007 the Des Moines Social Club has been providing a much needed and unique service to the greater Des Moines area. To steal a couple of quotes from their mission/vision statement they want to “use the arts as a catalyst to create unprecedented community engagement and build art institutions that foster social change and revitalize cities.”

Their 7‘x10’ office space inside the Kirkwood Hotel is not adequate enough to accomplish those ambitious goals. So, for the past year Slingshot has been working with the DMSC building committee (Zach Mannheimer, Justin Lossner, Jay Jagim, Matt McIver, Chad Rasmussen, and Jake Christensen) to design the conversion of the historic downtown fire station headquarters and shop building into their new home. It has been challenging, but a lot of fun and we are convinced Zach Mannheimer was born with the gift of having a “reality distortion field” surround him (which he uses only for good).

We feel the final product is the complex combination of flexibility, art integration, practicality, energy efficiency, historical appreciation, and never saying no (to theater related design changes). We dropped the drawings off at the city for permit on June 10th and we are excited to begin the construction phase with Beal | Derkenne Construction.

Please enjoy the images that we have created or acquired since the start of this project.

Firehouse Images


Marquardt SD15

MRQ, North   MRQ, South

Design for a new performing arts center was approved by the School Board Thursday night. Slingshot collaborated with Legat Architects to design the project near Chicago. David had worked on the previous campus plan including a new Administration Building and Commons addition to the middle school and the Performing Arts Center was discussed then as a future project. Working again with Dr. Loren May, a friend and SD15 superintendent, has been like old times.  Not only did David join the team, but the original construction manager and many of the engineers as well. It has been like ‘putting the old band back together’.

The new 500 seat auditorium and lobby form the bridge between the Commons addition and the connecting canopy of the 6th grade Center.  The Art addition is the centerpiece within the newly created courtyard and sculpture garden.  New band, orchestra, choral and drama classrooms wrap the south and west of the auditorium.  Materials where chosen to blend or compliment previous projects continue the campus feel. Really looking forward to completing the vision we started ten years ago.

MRQ Site   MRQ Plan

Drivers : what gets you up in the morning?


Two years ago, before we knew much about identity or even considered re-branding ge WATTIER architecture, we had a desire to more clearly define what we want to do in our work and how we want to connect with clients interested in the same things.  We took our own discovery | visioning process (now pullback) that we use to begin the design process with our clients and turned the focus on ourselves.

After a few sessions where we spoke vaguely about design, values, process and clients, we knew we had to dig deeper and get personal.  Almost naively and certainly optimistically, we asked, “What if we could drill down to 2-3 words that describe why we do what we do?  Why do we get up in the morning?”  We each took a week on our own to develop our own individual answers and then brought the team back together.

Vague descriptions were out and bold clarity took the wheel.  As a team, we sought the force that moves us to strive for great design solutions and to engage with our community and clients : our drivers.  We distilled, debated, combined, questioned and pushed until we were left with only the meat.


At Slingshot Architecture, our drivers are the heart of our purpose, but more importantly our approach to people.  make sense, serve, mean it.

What drives you?