2016 Merit Award, American Institute of Architects, Iowa Chapter
Delta Dental of Iowa relocated its corporate headquarters to a new office building on a highly visible site along Interstate 80. The site was selected with the intention that the building itself would become an economic branding and promotional device — architecture as advertisement — aimed directly at the millions of motorists who travel this stretch of interstate each year. Rapid growth and a desire to unite all functions under one roof prompted Delta Dental of Iowa to expand its office in 2013. The recently completed addition doubled the building’s size.
The facility, located in a suburban office park, is adjacent to a landscaped pond and an extensive network of walking paths. OPN worked closely with the client to develop massing diagrams and interior spatial layouts to determine the best solution for functionality and design. The open office area contains full-height window walls revealing panoramic vistas of surrounding natural prairie landscapes and ponds, while private offices have similar framed views of these landscapes which become the art for the rooms. To create a cohesive interior environment between the original space and expansion, and help mitigate the original building’s over-story ceiling height, two-story spaces along the east and west glass walls of the first-floor offer open collaboration seating for employees to interact in a conversational space.
Designed to be energy-efficient, flexible, and expandable, the space incorporates sustainable strategies — including geothermal heating and cooling, a LEED Gold design, a focus on energy efficiency, and plentiful access to daylight — as well as an open floor plan. The southern façade, which faces the interstate, employs a louvered sun scrim. This screen rises from the ground to the parapet height, protecting the interior open office space from solar heat gain and glare, while providing ample daylighting. The company’s branding is integrated within this feature, creating a branding device as a super graphic along the interstate.