Project Detail


ASK Studio

Des Moines, IA United States


Project Description

It seemed so simple. A representation of our abilities… and the paradigms and processes that we embrace…and a place for coffee…highly energy efficient with all LED lighting.

…can we have a shower?

The members of our Studio share a common belief that we are collectively special. A representation starts with our place, our home, our dialect.

We are a Midwest design firm. We are rooted in a landscape of functional sculptures and relentless organic rhythms of crops all bounded by a Cartesian grid. It is a simple model.

Our studio is intended to speak of this place in a way that does not cartoon the ideals we wish to reflect, but instead use deferential references that as an assembly will result in significance that is architecture - elevating the expectations of ourselves and acceptance of our clients. It is a simple goal.

The studio is open. There are no offices, no rooms with doors except for the toilets. This is how we work and learn. It is a simple system.

The palette begins with raw steel that greets as a floor and becomes the reception counter, then desk, then floor again. The wood is common. It is a vertical grain Fir whose beauty is often overlooked because we too often think of it only as prefabricated trusses. The remainder is carpet, drywall and glass. It is a simple palette.

The ceiling? Just sound control. About three thousand strips of industrial felt fastened to cattle panels with binder clips. A walk through the studio has the same kinetic experience as a drive down a road bordered with fields of corn. It is a simple rhythm.

The highlights of the palette are the moments of absence - where a cabinet parts to allow a controlled view, a wall is parted to receive a curtain, the conference room wall refuses to rest on any adjacent surfaces or the glass retains unbound edges. These moments are what Louis Kahn referred to as silence. We hope to inform clients that a moment is not just a “hole in the wall.” It is a simple goal.

Our collective self is represented in the photos in the conference room. The wall displays a photo of each of our ancestors, we are reminded of where we are from and that we are part of an assemblage ourselves. The conference room also boasts a series of digital picture frames. Here we display our pride and joy – our buildings. The presentation is made to suggest the import of these images is akin to the display of family photos.

There is a place to make coffee. It’s that simple.


Project Details

ASK Studio
Shared by:
  • General Contractor: Munro Construction 
Project Scope:
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Year Completed:
Project Size:
    2,940 sq ft


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