711 High Street honored for excellence in sustainable preservation

Two OPN projects were among the 14 historic preservation projects commended by the State Historical Society of Iowa and nonprofit Preservation Iowa with each organization’s highest honors during a virtual Preserve Iowa Summit in June. 

“These outstanding properties give communities a unique sense of pride and place. The adaptive reuse of these iconic buildings is a creative and economic way to revitalize an entire neighborhood,” said Chris Kramer, director of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, which oversees the State Historic Preservation Office and co-hosted the 2020 summit with the City of Dubuque.

OPN Architects was honored by Preservation Iowa with a Preservation at it’s Best Award – Best Sustainability Project for the renovation of Principal’s 711 High Street in Des Moines.

711 is a building of historic architectural significance, described by Architectural Record as the “Building of the Decade” in 1940. It was meticulously restored in areas to preserve and enhance those character defining elements, while being modernized and updated for corporate functions needed today and in the future.

Guided by sustainable design principles and with LEED Gold certification in mind,  the design maintained more than 95% of the existing building envelope and primary structural components. The annual site energy consumption was reduced by approximately 36% over a baseline case using ASHRAE 90.1 2007.  The Predicted Energy Use Intensity (pEUI) is nearly 62% below the National Average Site EUI for this project type.

Another OPN project, Brucemore, was honored in the Best Community Effort category.

More than 500 individual and corporate donors pitched in to the “Pride and Preservation” fundraising campaign to preserve the roof, doors, windows and other exterior elements of the 19th century mansion museum in Cedar Rapids. The $4.5 million restoration also received state grants from the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

OPN led the assessment of the historic mansion that preceded the campaign and is working on the careful restoration of the state’s only National Trust Historic Site.

OPN’s team of historic property specialists are well versed in the preservation, restoration, and rehabilitation of historical buildings. Our experience includes numerous projects on the National Registry and two with National Historic Landmark Status. Use of the Secretary of the Interior Standards for Rehabilitation is a standard practice.