Our Work

Iowa State Capitol Complex Master Plan

Des Moines, Iowa

Confluence led a multi-disciplinary team to prepare a master plan for the Iowa State Capitol Complex – with a goal of providing a 50-year vision as well as priorities for the next decade. The previous master plan was completed ten years ago, and several improvements have been made to the Capitol Complex since then.  These improvements included the creation of the West Capitol Terrace, construction of the Judicial Building and renovation of the Records and Property Building. The new master plan sought to correct past planning errors, provide for greater axial respect, and create a logical sequence of improvements that enable greater fulfillment of the many functions of the Iowa Capitol Complex during each stage of implementation. The master plan proposes a five-phased plan representing a bold look into the future, while still remaining sensitive to current needs and issues.

With the input of the department leaders, neighborhoods, City staff, and the results of a “right-sizing” exercise, a central idea of reclaiming off-campus leased space emerged in our 2010 plan. Combined with the desire to strengthen the pedestrian-oriented core, originally established by E.L. Masqueray in the 1913 Master Plan, the 2010 Plan recommends bold transportation, parking and open space strategies for the Capitol Complex. A proposed shuttle would provide service from the parking facilities to the buildings on the interior of the complex. Once ridership increases, the Master Plan suggests minimizing interior parking, replacing it with satellite facilities, and reclaiming the pedestrian-oriented core with grand, axial open space.

The master plan process was grounded in neighborhood support and engaged property owners on all sides of the Capitol. The results of this process include new housing and redevelopment opportunities that improve the neighborhoods and the city, while also providing a benefit to the Capitol Complex. These new additions will continue to strengthen the revival of the East Village area between the Capitol and the Des Moines River.  Our team brought together all of these concepts, including the integration of LEED design principles, to provide a clear direction for the future development of the complex.