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Iowa City-based architectural firm wins big at annual awards ceremony

Park@201 in downtown Iowa City

Park@201, downtown Iowa City — photo via Neumann Monson Architects

Iowa City’s Neumann Monson Architects received top honors at this year’s American Institute of Architects Iowa Chapter (AIA Iowa) fall convention, taking home design awards for both the Park@201 building in downtown Iowa City, as well as the Municipal Services Center in Des Moines.

AIA Iowa judges reviewed 70 entries leading up to this year’s awards ceremony, held on Sept. 25 at the Des Moines Public Library, and issued one Honor Award and four Merit Awards in total.

Neumann Monson Architects, which has offices in both Iowa City and Des Moines, snagged the ceremony’s sole Honor Award for its design of the Municipal Services Center in Des Moines. Similar to Iowa City’s 1105 Project, the Municipal Service Center acts as an umbrella facility, bringing together several city service organizations under one roof in an effort to promote efficiency and interdepartmental collaboration.

Judges also awarded Neumann Monson Architects with a Merit award — one of the four Merit Awards issued this year — for its design of the Park@201 building, located in downtown Iowa City. The firm says that the 14-story building, owned and managed by local developer Marc Moen, presented a design challenge in that it required architects to squeeze 48,000 square feet of commercial and residential space into a 3,200 square foot site. Judges called Park@201 an “urban beacon” and praised the way it allows life to “animate” the building.

Des Moines' Municipal Service Center

Municipal Service Center, Des Moines — photo by Cameron Campbell

Additional award recipients include Ask Studio, which received a Merit award for its work on the Corinthian Gardens Shelter in Des Moines, and Substance Architecture, which received two Merit Awards for its work on the DART Central Transit Station and the Principal Riverwalk Pump Station, both located in Des Moines. Ask Studio and Substance Architecture are both based in (you guessed it) Des Moines.

AIA Iowa also issued three Sustainable Design Awards, with two going to Neumann Monson Architects for its design of the University of Iowa West Campus Transportation Center and a private residence in rural Johnson County. RDG Planning and Design, based in Des Moines, took home the final Sustainable Design Award for its work on the State Gym Expansion and Renovation project at Iowa State University.

The AIA Iowa Excellence in Design Awards are held in conjunction with AIA Iowa’s annual fall convention, the latter of which took place on Sept. 25-26 at the Iowa Convention Center in Des Moines. The award ceremony is meant to recognize “exceptional architectural design and sustainability” and “emphasize the importance of the profession in Iowa’s communities,” according to AIA Iowa. The organization was originally founded in 1857, when the state of Iowa was just one year old, and currently counts more than 700 members.

West Campus Transportation Center

The University of Iowa West Campus Transportation Center, Iowa City — photo via Neumann Monson Architects

About The Author

Drew Bulman

Drew Bulman manages the digital side of Little Village magazine. You can reach him at @drewbulman and

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