Neumann Brothers, Inc. completed the historic restoration of the iconic, mid-century modern Catholic Pastoral Center in downtown Des Moines. The building, originally designed by renowned architect Mies Van der Rohe in 1962, was modernized to make the building’s systems meet today’s energy standards while still maintaining the original aesthetic.
Bishop Richard Pattes challenged our team to update all the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, audio, visual and security systems while protecting the integrity of the original design so the building would stand strong for another 50+ years. In addition to updating the systems, the first floor exhibit hall was renovated to include new restrooms, a new catering location was created, the main entry was restored and additional means of egress through the significant travertine feature wall was provided.
Upper office suites on the second and third floors were also refinished with new carpet, paint and data and technology. New audio visual systems were added to the conference rooms and the existing electrical system was entirely replaced throughout. New LED lighting was installed and the building was put on a full control system. New mechanical and plumbing systems were also put in place to provide further efficiency updates. The team created new raceways that conceal all components of the new systems so the building now operates as a state of the art, efficient building without interfering with the historic look.
On the exterior, the high performance finish systems on the building’s steel skin were removed and replaced with a new high performance coating. The original custom aluminum windows were all removed, restored, and modernized with new energy efficient glazing before being put back in place. Crews had to replace the one-of-a-kind custom steel curtain wall system around the perimeter of the first floor as it was deteriorating and showing signs of structural failure. A new custom steel system was put in that matched the original design intent and includes energy efficient glass. A new waterproofing system was placed under the pavers with a thickset mortar bed and the majority of the original pavers that made up the plaza were reinstalled with new, matching pavers as needed.
To respect Mies Van der Rohe’s “less is more” philosophy, the team replicated every original detail, exactly and disguised the modern updates to maintain the focus on the original simple details and crisp lines.