Photo Credit: Wayne Johnson, Main Street Studios

Principal: 711 High Street

OPN Architects

Architectural Record christened Principal’s corporate headquarters at 711 High Street the Building of the Decade the year it was built. By 1939-standards, the beautiful art deco building incorporated many unique and innovative systems. A letter written during construction predicted that 711 High’s pioneering design would stand the test of time for 75 years.

The author was not off base. It was 74 years after the building’s completion that OPN Architects began to design what would be a transformative renovation and restoration of the iconic building. Construction began in 2015 and was complete in 2017, 78 years after the original building was first occupied.

After a complete reinvention of Principal’s work environment in Des Moines, the global company now has a headquarters to match its international purview. 711 High was completely gutted and remodeled to create a space that will serve Principal for another 100 years while still respecting and restoring much of the original art-deco material and character.

The focal point of the renovation is a light-filled atrium that has become the heart of the campus. This soaring three-story space was created by enclosing an original exterior mechanical courtyard. Original exterior limestone walls anchor the new atrium and hearken to the building’s rich history while open stairs and cantilevered collaboration rooms create a contemporary work environment.

General Information

Location: 711 High Street, Des Moines, IA 50392

SQFT: 473000

Project Type: Remodel

Building Type(s): commercial

Project Complete Date: January 2018

Project Cost: $167,000,000.00

People Involved

Firm: OPN Architects

Contractor: Ryan Companies

Photographer: Wayne Johnson, Main Street Studios


Award Group Name: Iowa Architect Spring 2019

Award Name: Iowa Architect Spring 2019

Award Type: Publication