Simplicity and angularity define Renzo Piano’s design for Kum & Go’s headquarters

The new building is part of a downtown Des Moines, Iowa, redevelopment project, and is intended to echo the shapes of a nearby sculpture park.

September 28, 2015 |

Renzo Piano-designed Kum & Go headquarters in Des Moines. Renderings courtesy Renzo Piano Building Workshop

Sometime next month, the gas and convenience-store retailer Kum & Go will officially break ground on its new headquarters, to be located at the Pappajohn Sculpture Park in downtown Des Moines, Iowa.

Construction fencing has already been installed around the perimeter of the site, and destruction of two small existing buildings on the southwest corner of the lot has begun, according to a Kum & Go spokesperson.

The five-story, $151 million headquarters, topped by a rooftop garden, will be the centerpiece of a four-acre redevelopment master plan in Des Moines’ Gateway West neighborhood.

Last year, the Krause family, which owns Kum & Go, chose the design proposed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop over five other contenders. That design gives the appearance of white floor plates floating atop white pillars, and creates canopies on all sides of the building.



In a statement, the Pritzker Prize-winning Piano spoke of the building’s “lightness, simplicity, and openness.” The building’s design is also intended to complement the sculptures in the nearby sculpture park. In fact, the entire plaza surrounding the building will be landscaped and serve as a natural extension of the park.

“Large cantilevers from the upper floors form the continuation of the urban edge along Grand Avenue and Gateway Park,” according to the city’s Urban Design Review Board. “The project relies on landscape to form the edges on the other three sides of the building. The fifth floor is rotated to acknowledge the site’s location at the splay of downtown’s urban grids, with the rotation allowing for a gracious roof terrace overlooking the Park and downtown.”

The building will total 159,000 sf, according to the city report. It will house a gallery for the owners’ art collection, and include a game room for employees, an outdoor meeting space, underground parking for 225 vehicles, and a fitness room.

The building is scheduled to open in early 2018 with 300 to 325 employees, but would have space for 800. It is projected to achieve LEED Silver certification. Des Moines-based OPN Architects is providing architectural counsel and construction drawings. Ryan Companies US is the local builder/contractor.

Kum & Go has more than 430 stores 4,700 employees in 11 states.


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