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Bryn Mawr

by Brent Schipper· May 27, 2020· in · 0 comments
Bryn Mawr shares a name with a small Pennsylvania city.  The term Bryn Mawr means is a Welsh term meaning large hill.  The name fits the site, which has views toward downtown Des Moines.   The structure was built in 1918 and had always served as an apartment building. The building had fallen into a state of disrepair and its quiet presence was under appreciated. It was not attracting renters despite a stellar location it’s patinaed historic character.The renovation of the Bryn Mawr was centered on keeping the past as a focus, while modernizing sensitively with respectful materials.  In the century since it was built, the very economical use of living space has once again become prevalent.  The units are small, featuring efficiency kitchens and abundant windows.  With small units are once again in demand and the Bryn Mawr offers a unique environment in a market of many newly constructed efficiencies.The project included the introduction of air-conditioning, fire sprinklers and envelope upgrades including repointing the brick to match the original mortar.  The units were enhanced with updated kitchens, refinished wood floors and bathrooms featuring “penny” tile surfaces.  The closets, which once housed murphy beds, were converted to clothing closets, while the […]
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3801 Grand

by Brent Schipper· May 27, 2020· in · 0 comments
The project scope was small in physical size.  It encompassed an entry, reception lobby and dining room.  The project intention, however, was to update the ambiance of the entire facility through the upgrades to these key spaces which illuminate the character of care afforded to the residents. It was the expectation of families and residents that the act of receiving guests be akin to a fine hotel and dining an experience similar to a select restaurant.  The palette for the upgrades is warm and elegant, but stylistically the character in intentionally contemporary with cues from vogue examples of hospitality venues.  The design is a material assemblage staged around arrivals.  The first arrival of visitors to the reception and the second, but equally important the daily arrival of residents to the dining room.  Each arrival is a progression through layers of intimate space with the gravity of a hearth in the datum of both paths.3801 Grand uses the hearth as a marker of home and a memory of welcoming.  It is a part of every arrival.  It is the thoughtful act of entrance.   Location: Des Moines, IowaProgram: HousingArea:  3800 Sq FtClient:  Newbury LivingPhoto Credits: ASK Studio
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The redevelopment of the 75-year-old Phenix Elementary School into a 17-unit apartment building for local artists is a model for responsible historic preservation to better a community. The goal of this project was to help bolster the local art scene in Historic Valley Junction by linking the residential neighborhood to this blooming creative scene. The project consisted of the conversion of classrooms and offices into one, two and three-bedroom apartments and studio work spaces for artists. The Art Deco style of the building seems poetically suited for its new purpose in the community. The repurposing of this historic elementary school is a fundamental tack in preserving a historic Iowa neighborhood and making sound choices in use of an existing infrastructure to reconnect the residential and local art scenes. The completed building reinforces the live/work relationships found amongst local Des Moines artists for years to come. For residents of Phenix School Apartments, it’s the opportunity to curate artistic growth. What once was a trading and shipping post, Historic Valley Junction is now one of the main spots for artists to flourish in the Des Moines area. The project serves as an example of the success in building repurposing, but a special […]
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Marquette Hall Flats

by Brent Schipper· May 13, 2020· in · 0 comments
School bells were swapped for doorbells. The repurposing of the 1880 Marquette School into 28 affordable dwellings is a model for preserving an underutilized structure. A structure which was patinaed with over 100 years of constant use. The neighborhood was built around this structure and its use was gone, but the need for the its presence remained and a need for affordable housing in the community continued to grow. This project consisted of redesigning classrooms into one- and two-bedroom apartment units within the existing footprint of the building and without subdivision of the historic spaces. The original wood doors, grand stairs and beautiful floors were in excellent condition and are featured in the repurposing. The long and wide corridors, expansive use of glazing and are all preserved and allow the building to express its unique character and past and create extraordinary living environments in a new neighborhood created within an old neighborhood. The transformation is obvious, there was no attempt to “modernize”. The new use is allowed by the building structure, but it remains steadfast in representing it’s past. A classroom becomes a bedroom by purpose and furnishings. The corridors are now home to seating areas. The building has changed […]
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The new home for Community and Family Resources is the result of a five-year partnership that began with programming and site selection and culminated in making architecture that’s serves to heal. The building brings together programs previously housed in three separate facilities. CFR charged the design team with allowing them to better serve their clients, while being more efficient due to the constant struggle of limited funds.  The design is based on achieving a residential scale and feel in a building that is much larger than the neighboring single family and multifamily residences in the neighborhood. The plan uses wings to break the roof line into smaller scale elements while the wings allow for security and privacy between disparate program elements of children’s zone, female zone, male zone and flexible orientation zone. The roof is a familiar shingled pitch in a hip shape. The hip allowed the implementation of prairie elements in the fenestration pattern and deep overhangs for the texture of shadows and sun control for energy efficiency.The connect wings result in campus which includes housing components, office space, community meeting spaces. The campus aids CFR in caring for “One Life at a Time”, “One Day at a Time”. […]
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THE RESERVE

by Brent Schipper· July 11, 2019· in · 0 comments

Monroe Place Apartments

by Brent Schipper· November 21, 2018· in · 0 comments
School bells were swapped for doorbells. The redevelopment of the 1961 Monroe Elementary School into a 19-unit affordable housing apartment building is a model for preserving an underutilized structure, giving it a new lease on life while helping to solve an affordable housing shortage.  As the first school building in Cedar Rapids to be converted into housing, Monroe Place was designed with the surrounding neighborhoods and families in mind. This project consisted of redesigning classrooms into two, three, and four-bedroom apartment units within the existing footprint of the building and without subdivision of the historic spaces.  The repurposing of this historic elementary school is a fundamental precedent for preserving underused buildings and making sound choices in use of an existing infrastructure to strengthen Cedar Rapids communities. Monroe Place reinforces the existing relationship amongst the original 1961 elementary school and the adjacent neighborhood for years to come. For residents of Monroe Place, it’s the opportunity to live affordably in a uniquely designed yet familiar space. The school is awash in color with an original mural and ceramic tile, in many hues, lining the building’s corridors. Original wood doors, hallway tile and cubbies were still in excellent condition. The long and wide […]
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Valley Station

by Brent Schipper· December 08, 2017· in · 0 comments
Located in the historic Valley Junction area of West Des Moines, Valley Station is a senior housing development which pulls cues from 1920s train stations to bring them to a residential scale.  Exaggerated overhangs, ornate brackets and an emphasized roof structure come together to pay homage to this historic place.  The entry ‘platform’ acts as a staging for patrons waiting for their ride or simply to enjoy the courtyard framed by the buildings.  A mix of 2-bedroom units offers a variety of plan configurations, all of which are fully adaptable.   The project represents a design/build delivery for a client who has used ASK Studio for over a decade encompassing over 20 projects across the state of Iowa.  The project was built in phases due to funding requirements and the design build team worked with owner to create a design and construction sequence that coordinated with funding timing.   Location: West Des Moines, Iowa Program: Senior Living Client: Community Housing Initiatives Area: 31,632 SF Photo Credits: Timothy Hursley
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Kibbey Building

by Brent Schipper· November 29, 2017· in · 0 comments
The redevelopment of the Kibbey Building and its adjacent site is a model for small town Iowa main streets.  The project consisted of the insertion of 4 apartment units on the second floor of the structure and the redevelopment of the adjacent empty site into a community park. The project’s design was intended to preserve a historic fabric of Main Street.  Literally. The project serves as an example of the success in building repurposing, but as a special model in use of neglected and empty sites that erode the downtown fabric.  The park embraces the empty corner lot giving it life and purpose.   The public canopy supports PV panels used for lighting and power for irrigation pumps.  The irrigation system is an active way of conditioning storm water in the hardscape area of downtown and is fed by a storm water management cistern below the Kibbey parking lot.   The project is also an example that positive change can happen in small steps.  One small building and one bare lot are now making a difference to a community and serving as an example to many others.   Location: Marshalltown, Iowa Program: Housing, Residential, Preservation Client: Downtown Leases and Lofts, LLC. Photo […]
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Ligutti Tower Terrace

by Brent Schipper· September 26, 2017· in · 0 comments
We look for opportunities to use metal in its simplest configuration. The beauty is found in the utility of its forms with simple requirements for weathering and exposure. Our insertion on an urban rooftop uses metal as building structure, sculpture and boundary. With a simple and unadorned collection of metal components we create space, add layers and provide focus. All with a material that can withstand the winds of tall building canyons, while needing very little maintenance. Metal effortlessly is a vertical element, then a horizontal element. The collection of prefabricated elements are minimally detailed, allowing users to appreciate the forms and rhythms of frame, fluted decking and welded wire panels. While rigid as structure and rhythm, metal is malleable in form and purpose. The structural frame begins as building, then transforms to trellis like no other material would allow. The material is used simply highlighting characteristics that are uniquely metal.   Location: Des Moines, Iowa Program: Housing, Urban Space Client: Newbury Living Photo Credits: Timothy Hursley
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