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Plymouth Place

Plymouth Place

Project Description

Plymouth Place was not yet fifty years young, but was deemed “exceptionally” significant by the National Park Service in the admittance letter to the National Historic Register. The team found the restoration challenges familiar, but with new parameters and opportunities: The restoration of this building began by speaking to the original architect!

Many historic projects have window rehabilitations that are focused on wood profiles, but here the team was working to recreate aluminum windows! The original windows had lasted less than 15 years. The “space age” material had been detailed in the smallest of profiles to accentuate the glass of the opening, but these small profiles failed in mass. The team located the original shop drawings for the windows and meticulously detailed the new windows to match the original profiles that had failed. Some profiles could not be duplicated because they would again fail, but in the end the windows were within ¼” of the original design intent.

The only addition to the building was a canopy, reflecting the era and respecting the building, but not appearing as an original fixture. The design introduced steel rather than concrete but paid homage to the building by being tension dependent as the building is in a surreptitious way. The building floors are actually supported by tension steel from a large concrete beam at the top of the building. The canopy uses steel and tension to show lightness and flight rather than hide the tension as the building had done for five decades.


Plymouth Place

  • Des Moines, Iowa
  • United States
Completion: 2014
Used materials
  • Metal
  • Glass

Type of Building

Architect Office