skidmoreowingsmerrill Built in 1965 in downtown Des Moines, the American Republic Insurance Building signaled the future in more ways than one. By integrating the building’s structural and mechanical elements, SOM’s design expresses clarity and efficiency. This approach is perhaps most visible in the ceiling system, where exposed cylindrical ducts pass through concrete structural tees, concealing the lighting system that bathes the interiors with an indirect glow. Not long after its completion, the project earned a 1967 Merit Award from the American Institute of Architects. Recently renovated, the project is back in the spotlight: this year, the AIA awarded the meticulous rehab of the building, commending its sensitivity to SOM’s “sublimely simple” original design.

Photo © Ezra Stoller | Esto

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