2020 Community Enhancement Through Architecture and Design Awards Given to John & Mary Pappajohn and Grinnell College

Good news! If you missed the Community Enhancement Through Architecture & Design Awards on October 20, you can see it here!

The direct link to the video is IAF 2020 Awards.

John & Mary Pappajohn of Des Moines, and Grinnell College of Grinnell, were the 2020 recipients of this prestigious award. The selection process included a statewide call for entries and selection by a jury of five, including Rob Whitehead, AIA, Thomas Leslie, FAIA, Jeff Shaffer, AIA, Jessica Rowe and Janis Ruan.

The program was established to recognize those individuals, organizations, agencies, or communities, outside the architectural profession, who have had a significant and sustained positive impact on the quality of life in Iowa through their support of architecture, landscape architecture, and/or urban design. Thank you to our committee chairman, Eric Neuhaus, AIA, and awards committee members Jeff Shaffer, AIA, William Anderson, FAIA and Claudia Cackler, Executive Director.

The Pappajohns

The jury summarized the many achievements of John and Mary Pappajohn, commenting: “John and Mary have influenced much of the state with their history of giving and advocacy for architecture, art and design. They’ve been active catalysts for placemaking. Alongside buildings they have invested in landscape and gardens. What they have created is beyond phenomenal.”

Prominent among the couple’s outstanding contributions is the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park, which is now part of the Des Moines Art Center. The park features 31 sculptures by 25 of the world’s most famous artists. The 4.4 acre park, located within a major crossroads of the urban grid, creates a pedestrian-friendly entranceway to downtown Des Moines. This accessible setting, coupled with the skilled landscape design and caliber of the art, makes it unlike any other sculpture park in the United States.

Among the Pappajohn’s architectural endeavors enhancing the state are the Pappajohn Biomedical Discovery Building (Gwathmey Siegal and Associates Architects (New York) and Rohrbach Associates (Iowa City); the Pappajohn Pavilion (HLM, now Heery Int’l, Iowa City), both part of the University of Iowa Hospitals: the Pappajohn Education Center in Des Moines (HLKB Architects), and the Pappajohn Business Building at the University of Iowa (Architectural Resources of Cambridge (MA) and Neumann Monson Architects (Iowa City). 

Grinnell College

Grinnell College was selected for the institution’s outstanding and sustained contributions, vision and leadership in architecture and planning for more than 50 years. The jury said: “Grinnell has reached out over time to create an incredible collection of buildings – which is different than something done episodically. There is a commitment to excellence and quality, and it takes a great deal more dedication and perseverance to maintain that sort of course. It’s what sets a neighborhood or a campus apart.”

Going back to the 1960’s, Grinnell College has consistently sought to employ some of the best American architects to add to what was already an idyllic campus. For example, Walter Netsch of the Chicago firm SOM, was hired in 1961 to design the first portion of what was to become the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts. In 1999, the college hired Cesar Pelli and Associates (New Haven) to add on to this International Style building. The Pelli firm also designed the Joe Rosenfield 25 Center and the Athletic and Fitness Center, which was created in conjunction with Sasaki Associates (Boston) on the north end of campus. In 1999, the college employed Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott (Boston), to create a campus Master Plan that has been more recently updated by OPN Architects (Des Moines, Cedar Rapids). Over the past twelve years the college has executed four extraordinary buildings, all within the context of this Master Plan. Just completed is Grinnell’s stunning Humanities & Social Studies Center (HSSC) designed by EYP Architects (Raleigh & NY), where flexible and adaptable design fosters working synergies among students and faculty by supporting active, collaborative learning. The keystone of the design is an expansive addition that unifies, and greatly adds to, two landmark buildings – the 1917 Alumni Recitation Hall, and the 1905 Carnegie Hall – to create an immersive, tech-rich environment.