For over 125 years, the Des Moines firm of BBS Architects | Engineers and predecessor firms have held a significant role designing the architecture of Iowa. Qualities that unify this body of work are long term client service, durability, and mainstream stylistic expression.

Prior to 1895 when the founders, Proudfoot and Bird, began their Iowa practice, they collaborated in partnership in Wichita Kansas and Salt Lake City Utah designing over 70 commissions including college, business, and residential buildings. The City and County Building in Salt Lake City is an extant landmark predecessor to the Polk County Courthouse designed over a decade later in Des Moines.

By 1900 Proudfoot and Bird emerged on the Iowa architecture scene winning successful design competitions for Marston Hall at Iowa State University, Schaeffer Hall at The University of Iowa and Lang Hall at UNI. Their designs met with such approval that the firm became and continued for 30 years as the architect for the Board of Education, the predecessor to the Iowa Board of Regents. The original three buildings and nearly 50 others in total remain in use on the three campuses. The Classical Revival style and Indiana limestone exteriors characterize many of the early 1900s university buildings and five extant Iowa county courthouses (Dallas, Polk, Jasper, Greene, and Pocahontas). Integrated and thematic public art and incised names or text phrases related to the building function often appear on facades.

As popular architectural styles evolved from period revivals to mid-twentieth century modern, the firm’s mainstream design philosophy is exemplified in Des Moines by the Equitable Building, Lincoln and Roosevelt High Schools, the Iowa Des Moines National Bank (U.S. Bank), Solar Aircraft (Bell Ave Business Center) and EMC office buildings. The mainstream expression continues to the present contemporary design for the 219 8th Street office building addition to the EMC corporate campus.

Learn more about the history of BBS Architects | Engineers here: