Located in Des Moines’ historic East Village, 111 East Grand is Iowa’s first modern mass timber building—the first dowel-laminated timber (DLT) office building in North America and, at the time of construction, the largest DLT project on the continent. We proposed the innovative system to our development partners and spearheaded substantial research. DLT is next-generation technology with design and delivery advantages. Persuaded, the team and eventually the city greenlighted this iconic project.
Sourced from managed forests, mass timber provides faster, cleaner construction than structural concrete and steel; it’s a sustainable solution in terms of prefabrication, speed, strength, quality and durability. DLT friction-fits the timber using specifically manufactured hardwood dowels, safer and simpler than nails or screws. The core team of architect, civil and structural engineers collaborated closely with the mass timber engineers and our general contracting team, enabling everyone to push boundaries and convey this sensible material’s accessibility. Installation took six weeks, a process somewhat reminiscent of erector sets. The small crew and speedy timetable minimized disturbance, and the exposed style reduced costs while requiring electrical and plumbing artistry. We coordinated with the tenant improvement contractors to complete ground-floor finishes before phasing in the restaurant and tenants—followed by our Des Moines office. The building’s elegance and convenient location continue to attract tenants, sightseers and major design accolades.