Reaching New Heights: The 70’s Turn 50 Downtown Des Moines Tours

Don’t miss Iowa Architectural Foundation’s one-day-only architectural walking tour, Reaching New Heights — that celebrates iconic 1970s architecture downtown Des Moines. The outdoor tour is part of modern architecture advocate Docomomo US’s National Tour Day, this year themed “The ’70s Turn 50.”

Reaching New Heights will highlight the three most prominent downtown Des Moines buildings of the 1970s — the Financial Center (1973-1974), the Ruan Center (1975) and the Civic Center (1979) and give you new insights as you hear the stories behind them. Architectural historian Jennifer Irsfeld James has developed an eye-opening tour after researching the 27-story Corporate International Style Financial Center, designed as the tallest building to be built in the city and state in 50 years. The Financial Center’s $21 million project investment and 25 stories, with underground parking, set a new standard for downtown development, boosting confidence in downtown investment.

Who were the main players who began to breathe life into downtown? What were the key influences? Learn this and more when you attend IAF’s Des Moines’ 70s Turn 50 tour in honor of Docomomo’s 2020 Tour Day.

Two socially distanced sidewalk tours will be given, at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. and will last approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. Tours will depart from the Iowa Center for Architecture in Capital Square. Be sure to get your tickets ($30) on Eventbrite in advance, as space is limited. Each tour will include a maximum of 15 people. Guides will wear face shields and head-microphones. Can’t attend? The tour is a fundraiser for IAF, but if you can’t attend, you can still make a donation at Funds help promote Iowa architectural programs for adults and children.