The structure serves as a wholesale showroom of products made by prisoners in the State Prison System. It is located near the historic state capital complex on a busy urban artery. The unique challenge of this project was to design and build a building in six months with a budget of $85 per square foot, and, due to a fear of vandalism, no windows.
An inspired design was created due in large part to an appreciation of the neighborhood as well as inspiration drawn from the culturally founded elements in the works of Luis Barrágan. Persuading the owner that slit windows and polycarbonate panels would resist vandalism, the building transformed from a windowless shed to one that engages the streets with apertures that also gather light to showcase the prison wares inside. While the building remains a shed in form, structure and purpose, it is a good neighbor.
Location: Des Moines, IA
Area: 8,500 SF
Client: Iowa Prison Industries; Iowa Department of Corrections
Photo Credits: Cameron Campbell, Integrated Studio