OPN Architects to open Iowa City office

Newly named Associate Principal Justin Bishop to lead firm’s fourth office

OPN Architects is excited to announce that the firm will open its newest studio in Iowa City in 2016.

The Iowa City expansion is the next step in what has been a period of tremendous growth and success at OPN, a firm with a nearly 40-year history in the Midwest. OPN opened its first office in Marion in 1979. The architecture firm moved to Cedar Rapids in the 1980s, opened an office in Des Moines in 2003 and most recently expanded to Madison, Wis., in early 2014.

OPN’s newest office will be in Iowa City on Clinton Street on the west side of the pedestrian mall facing the Pentacrest. The firm will occupy the second floor of the building adjacent to The Airliner. The street-level space previously occupied by clothier Austin Burke will continue to be used for retail.

OPN plans to occupy the new office by mid-2016.

“The time is right to reaffirm our company’s commitment to the southern end of the eastern Iowa corridor,” said OPN Principal and President Daniel Thies. “At OPN, our relationships with our clients are as important as designing beautiful, functional spaces. We’ve built long-standing connections with clients in Iowa City and Coralville from our Cedar Rapids location for more than two decades, and we are excited to play an even more active role in shaping these communities at this time of rapid development.”

OPN’s work at the University of Iowa spans 20 years and more than 150 projects of all scopes and sizes, including two of the campus’ signature buildings – the College of Pharmacy and Hancher Auditorium – currently under design and construction. The firm also has designed several schools for the Iowa City Community School District, including Norman Borlaug, Alexander and Penn elementaries.

Opening an office in Iowa City, will enable the firm to strengthen its relationship with existing clients and forge new connections with both public and private entities in the community.

Justin Bishop, AIA LEED AP, who was recently named Associate Principal, will lead the Iowa City office.

Bishop, a 2004 graduate of Iowa State University, has been a leader at OPN in all of his 11 years at the firm. Bishop’s current work on the Johnson County Emergency Services Facility and at Hancher Auditorium combined with his recent personal and professional achievement of earning his masters in business administration from the Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa in 2015 have combined to uniquely prepare him to lead OPN’s Iowa City office.

“He is methodical in his approach to project planning and execution. He has become a magnet for information and problem solving in all of our studios. He is a strong strategic thinker when organizing team and is a skilled and well-rounded architect,” Thies said.

Bishop has been a part of some of OPN’s most complicated commissions. He was instrumental in leading the convention center team on the Cedar Rapids Event Center, a $175 million 2008 flood recovery project. He is also leading the exterior envelope team on the new $172 million Hancher Auditorium for the University of Iowa with internationally renowned architect Pelli Clarke Pelli.

“I have always treated this company as my own so I’m I excited for the opportunity to gain equity in the place I love,” Bishop said. “It’s really an honor and a privilege. The people here make it such an amazing place. I’m really excited to be a part of the future.”