As designers we get to have a lot of fun days working with our client and contractor partners. On April 29th, Slingshot and The Hansen Company broke ground with the Fiedler & Timmer family kicking off the project. F&T works hard for their clients in the fight for a fair work environment. Their new space will allow for the opportunity to unplug with the offices arranged around the family room, spilling out onto the patio while framing views of the existing ponds. Moments like this in the workplace inspire spontaneous collaboration with colleagues that can spark a creative solution to the tasks at hand. We can’t wait to see their new space take shape over the next few months and enjoy their patio.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The project is scheduled to be completed at the end on November. Stay tuned for more updates during construction.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Waukee’s Public Library is gaining a special place. A gift from a former Waukee resident, Hiram Ori, the Coal Mine Meeting Room and museum will tell a story which many residents do not know. The Schuler Coal Mine, located just 2 miles northeast of Waukee, was once a community of 450 people and more than 30 mules. The Ori family grew up in this community off Alice’s Road and wanted to create a place for the community to gather and exchange ideas.
Slingshot Architecture walked the building and site with Library Director Erik Surber to begin to understand the goals for the project and how the architecture could best tell the story of the coal mine community, while still serving the needs of the library itself. We talked about low wood beams, dim light and how the floor could slope giving the visitor an experience of entering a mine. The visitor should ‘feel’ what life was like for the community in the 1920’s. The exterior black cladding symbolizes the dark shaft to reach the coal.
The meeting hall at the end would draw the visitor to a daylit room and trees beyond. The octagon room creates a round table atmosphere and echoes back to Prairie Style architecture of the early 1900’s. The wood roof beams and pendant lights create a warm memorable place.
We’re looking forward to beginning construction next month.
Today we begin a new chapter in the life of our architectural firm. Over the past ten years, we have been very blessed to work on many amazing projects in Des Moines, around Iowa and in other locations. As we roll out some changes and clarity to who we are and how we desire to provide work, it is a good time to share with you a few key thoughts that have become clear and unmistakeable to me.
Although I’m not a native of Iowa, Des Moines has become my home due to the people I’ve been fortunate enough to know through work and outside of work. Thank you to all of you that have guided and pushed me to pursue my architectural dreams. Thank you to all of you who invited me to assist you with your architectural needs and provided us with several great opportunities.
I have an absolutely amazing family. Thank you mom for being an integral member of our team for several years. Your dedication and support was immeasurable. Thank you Tony and Riley for not only allowing me to pursue my passion, but your understanding when I too often chose poorly and put my work ahead of you two. Sandi, none of this would have been possible without your commitment, strength and strong love. Thank you. I hope all four of you can share in the success and pride of today because it would not have happened without you.
As for the firm itself, it’s clear “its just bigger than me now”. Our office studio is a group of amazing people that share similar life and work drivers with me. Our drivers are embedded in our Process and Purpose. Our Purpose is very simple. We need and expect Meaning in our work. If we rigorously Serve our Clients and provide processes and solutions that Make Sense, we will find and deliver Meaning. Our Process is threefold. We Pull Back so we can clearly identify a project, generate Momentum to define solutions and strive to make Impact.
Regarding our drivers, I must point out it has been difficult yet simple and very rewarding, to clearly identify them as a result of the dedicated work Justin, John and Adam at 8|7 Central did to “discover” our firm. They also created all our new, very personal, graphics and firm materials. Besides their never ending great work, we also now have three new friends and accomplices in the battle to do meaningful design.
David Voss, Dan Drendel, John Bloom and Sandi Wattier have pushed, pulled and joined forces with me over the last many years. They are awesome and I truly value working with them and their friendships. Their leadership, expertise, maturity and desire to build our firm while impacting Des Moines have made it easy for me to recognize our firm is no longer about a single person name or even a group of names. The firm name must change so it is aligned with our Process and Purpose.
ge WATTIER Architecture is now Slingshot Architecture.
name on the door (click link for video)