News: Pastoral Center recognized with 2019 Modernism in America Award

May 14, 2019

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Docomomo US, a national organization committed to celebrating the people and projects that preserve, restore and rehabilitate Modernist architecture, is presenting an award to the Des Moines Catholic Pastoral Center restoration team of BBS Architects & Engineers, Harboe Architects, Genus Landscape Architecture, Neumann Brothers (construction manager) and Jennifer I. James (architectural historian).

The Commercial Design Award of Excellence is one of several Modernism in America Awards that showcase preservation methods, efficient grassroots efforts and public/private partnerships.

Architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe designed the Catholic Pastoral Center, a three-story steel and glass Modernist building. It opened in 1962 as a savings and loan. The Edward and Eleanor Ochylski family acquired the building and donated it to the Diocese of Des Moines in 1992. It’s an ideal location given St. Ambrose Cathedral is across High Street to the north. The building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, underwent extensive renovation in 2017 in coordination with the State Historic Preservation Office.

Bishop Richard Pates, bishop of Des Moines, expressed thanks to Docomomo US for the honor bestowed on the diocese and its three partners for the Commercial Design Award of Excellence.

In preparation for the renovation, Bishop Pates convened a Blue Ribbon Task Force to study the needs and make a recommendation. He praised three groups for their dedication and service. “I would like to cite and commend the Blue Ribbon Task Force, the diligent attention of the Catholic Pastoral Center staff, and the generosity of extraordinary donors who made this possible,” he said. “The award highlights the quality work of the project.”

In addition to offices for the diocese and Catholic Charities, the following organizations have office space at the Catholic Pastoral Center: the Catholic Tuition Organization, the Catholic Foundation of Southwest Iowa, and the St. Thomas More Center.