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Type: Headquarters, Office

Size: 511,000 sq ft / 47,470 sq m

Height: 8 floors

Status: Completed 1996

The design of Des Moines’ Principal Financial Group building began in 1993, signaling a return to a more technical approach after the formal and stylistic explorations of the previous decade. Functionally, the project expanded Principal’s downtown campus, creating a large plaza between the original headquarters and the new structure. Symbolically, the building challenged the excesses of the Postmodern era with a new commitment to technical efficiency.

Within this planning construct, the building is composed of simple metal and glass elements. The boundaries of the building integrate with the campus and dematerialize with trellises, forecourts, open stairs, and sky-bridges. Variations in the curtain wall respond to different urban conditions and programmatic requirements. Meanwhile, a louvered trellis creates a transitional forecourt to the gate through the building, accommodating entry and facilitating a connection to planned future developments to the north.

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