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

Silver Oaks

by askstudio-wp_soho· December 27, 2018· in · 0 comments
Silver Oaks Apartments is a unique housing community situated on a hill just on the edge of downtown Des Moines. The program comprises affordable senior apartment units and a preschool. Because this project will serve seniors for years to come, the design had to consider its own longevity and challenge the definition of contemporary. An advantage of its hilltop location was its accommodation for enclosed parking at the lowest level. The project was also an exercise in stretching budget through design. Typical building materials—such as concrete—were specialized by adding texture. Apartment units were maximized by designing for efficiency of space. Common spaces were designed to create a sense of community by allowing residents to interact with one another.   Location: Des Moines, IA Program:  Residential Area: 23,000 SF Client: Neighborhood Development Corporation Photo Credits: Cameron Campbell Integrated Studio  
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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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The Roosevelt High School was built in 1888 in Clinton Iowa.  It had been patinaed with over 120 of constant use when the local school district deemed it too expensive to use and maintain. A developer who had decade before restored nearby Louis Sullivan building, sought out the building to give it new life as affordable housing.  She referred to the building as having great bones.  The architects were more than thrilled to help repurpose the building and without pause informed her that “those bones” were solid and ready for another hundred years. The challenges were numerous and the rules simple.  Respect. The charge of the design team was the insertion of 16 apartments within a school containing about 14,000-square feet and 7 classrooms and a large gathering area space while maintaining the integrity of the existing walls and spaces.  (Each unit containing a washer/dryer, individual HVAC units, bath and kitchen fans and no penetrations through the historic brick envelope.) The process utilized ALL historic walls and left the main hall unchanged.  The second floor utilized units with mezzanine level bedrooms to squeeze in all of the possible living area in while respecting the beautiful two-story window units.  A special […]
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