DES MOINES (AP) — The towering structure in Des Moines’ Western Gateway can only be described as one thing: Unique.
Kum & Go’s new headquarters doesn’t open for another nine months, but the massive 160,000-square-foot building is already turning heads with its distinct architecture and innovative features.
Pallets of interior finishes line every floor of the six-story building and some spaces for windows are covered only with plastic sheeting. But its grandeur is still evident.
One of the most notable features is the two-story atrium facing the Pappajohn Sculpture Park along Grand Avenue. It’s made up of 29 individual glass panels each standing 29 feet (9 meters) tall. They weigh 4,000 pounds (1,800 kilograms) a piece.
Then there are the overhangs on every floor above, each containing several thousand more pounds of glass, allowing natural light to pour in.
To support that much weight, the building needed more than 8 million pounds of steel. That’s equal to about 50 pounds of steel per gross square foot of building, said Matt VanLoon, senior project manager for Ryan Companies. An average building has about 8 to 12 pounds of steel per square foot, he said.
“The welding hours on this project alone is staggering,” VanLoon said.
Kum & Go broke ground on the $151 million headquarters in late 2015. It will open in mid-October, almost exactly three years later, the Des Moines Register reported .
Design started in 2014 when Kum & Go hired world-renowned Italian architect Renzo Piano and his firm, the Renzo Piano Building Workshop. The firm designed the New York Times Building, the Art Institute of Chicago’s modern wing, the California Academy of Sciences and The Shard, an 87-floor London skyscraper.
Piano also designed the Stavros Niarchos Cultural Centre in Athens, Greece, which is home to the National Library of Greece and the Greek National Opera. It’s considered the sister building of the Krause Gateway Center.
But Des Moines’ project far exceeds the international one, said local developer Jake Christensen.
“It’s a work of art,” said Des Moines City Councilman Josh Mandelbaum. “I imagine some people will want to work for Kum & Go just because of this building.”
The building is centered on providing collaborative spaces for employees, as well as room to host Kum & Go’s regular meetings with its district supervisors and division general managers. A conference room on the second floor — again, surrounded by glass — can hold up to 400 people.
Those kinds of all-team meetings currently take place in the lobby of Kum & Go’s West Des Moines office, said Chad Rasmussen, vice president of Krause Holdings Real Estate.
“We really wanted to make this building for everybody,” he said.
About 320 employees will work in the office on opening day, but it has room for up to 800 people. All companies of Krause Holdings Inc. will be housed there, including Kum & Go, Solar Transport, Des Moines Menace Soccer and Krause Holdings Real Estate. There also will be some support functions for Krause’s Vietti and Enrico Serafino wineries, which operate in Italy.
Employees will notice those more obvious design features, but also some subtle ones.
Like how the fifth floor shifts 15 degrees to align with the curve of Ingersoll Avenue, which runs along the building’s north side. Or how the meandering paths on the green roof — which can’t be seen from the ground — are designed for contemplation and reflection.
The rooftop, which will be planted with native Iowa vegetation, wraps around the building. A fifth-floor patio, which can hold up to 900 people, provides western views of Sherman Hill and Terrace Hill. Both the roof and patio will be open to employees.
A 100-foot-tall mast, made in Genoa, Italy, will rise from the roof’s eastern side. Made of light-weight material, it will sway and bend with the wind. It’s meant to represent an antenna, signifying Kum & Go headquarters communicating with its more than 400 stores across 11 states.
Some features will be open to the public.
The first floor will have a cafe, run by a yet-to-be-named local vendor. On the second floor is an art gallery with the Krause family’s collection.
An outdoor plaza will have 120 mature trees, bocce ball and an outdoor chess set. A bike trail will run along the property’s perimeter.
“We want it to be welcoming; we want the public on our property,” Rasmussen said.
Employees will be invited to take tours of the building this spring.
The company continues to work on a master plan for its other downtown properties, including the building across 15th Street, which is home to the Gas Lamp.