Des Moines Social Club

Pull Back

The traditional way to build community in a city has been through neighborhood, church + school. The Des Moines Social Club’s goal is to build community through the intersection of theater, art, music, food + other social gatherings. For several years the nonprofit has operated their events + programs at various rented venues in downtown Des Moines, with an eye toward finding a permanent home. In 2012 the board purchased from the city the historic 1937 Des Moines Fire Department Headquarters Complex, which incudes Fire Station No. 1 + the Shop Building.


Sustainability, historic preservation, economic practicality + flexible spaces were the drivers behind the design of the existing buildings. The plan needed to be divided into areas for classes, office space, theater, gallery, plus restaurant + cafe tenants. However, budget + structural constraints forced us to utilize the existing fabric as possible to achieve the desired outcome. The desicion was to use a VRF mechanical system which operates efficiently, utilizes heat recovery, + requires little ductwork to accomplish energy efficiency, conservation, and historical guidelines.


The Social Club has become an important catalyst within Des Moines’ emerging creative culture. The award-winning historic preservation project has retained the unique architectural character, achieved the DMSC’s sustainability ambitions + provided an adaptable platform for programming and the Social Club Vision. On any given day, the DMSC hosts a wide range of classes + events, ranging from circus arts to music production. This project brings people of every age + background together under one roof to create a dynamic community.

  • "Slingshot understood our process and vision from the start to finish, perhaps even better than we did. They lead the way and helped us discover ideas about our building that we had not even thought yet, and then executed the space brilliantly. Some of the most creative people I have ever worked with work at Slingshot
    Zach Mannheimer