Simplify your office renovation by embracing the past

If your office building is in need of a redesign, it's important to consult with an architect to see if renovations make more sense than restarting from the ground up. Often times, you'll find it's cheaper and wiser to build upon what already works.

Such was the case for the American Enterprise Group’s headquarters building in Des Moines, Iowa, which was designed by Pritzker Architecture Prize winner Gordon Bunshaft, FAIA, of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Completed in 1965, the eight-story, 153,000-square-foot office building won an AIA Honor Award for Architecture in 1967; nearly five decades later, its sensitive renovation by BNIM has garnered a second AIA award for effectively updating systems while preserving the character of Bunshaft’s work.

Not every building, of course, has been designed by an architect of Bunshaft’s stature. In addition to the AEG headquarters, he was also responsible for some of the most iconic midcentury office buildings, from New York’s Lever House (with design coordinator Natalie de Blois) and Manufacturers Trust Company Building to the National Commercial Bank in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Bunshaft’s contributions to the realm of cultural institutions include Washington, DC’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, as well as the Beinecke Rare Book Library at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

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