2016 News

Pushing the Limits of Creativity

Pushing the Limits of Creativity

It’s not every day Baker Group gets the opportunity to work with a world-renowned architect in Des Moines, Iowa, to provide design-build services for mechanical, plumbing and building automation systems.

Italian architect Renzo Piano, in collaboration with OPN Architects, is leading design efforts for Kum & Go’s new headquarters, called Krause Gateway Center. The project will sit on a unique site at the end of downtown Des Moines’ western gateway, directly across from the art park between Grand Avenue and Ingersoll. Its design is even more unique and, from a mechanical design perspective, incredibly challenging.

The sleekly designed six-story, all-glass building will sit atop two layers of underground parking, incorporate a grass roof, a unique 180-foot-tall beacon antenna and park-like plaza on the exterior. The design is exceptionally detailed, which created numerous challenges for the mechanical design. Among the most significant:

  • So much glass! The all-glass façade had to be carefully evaluated for heating and cooling loads to maintain occupancy comfort.
  • Limited above-ceiling space for routing utilities. “The architect wanted the look of very thin floor lines from the exterior of the building. To accomplish this, the space above the ceiling normally dedicated for plumbing and HVAC systems was eliminated,” says Joel Veenstra, Baker Group Project Manager.
  • Making components “invisible.” To create a very clean, organized look in all spaces, all components – from access doors to ceiling components – have to blend seamlessly into the carefully designed ceiling layout.

Designing the ideal solutions for the Krause Gateway Center took collaboration – and lots of it. In addition, Baker Group will use Trimble technology extensively for the project. “Trimble is an extremely important tool for efficiency and accuracy in jobsite layout, particularly related to underground piping, pipe and duct hangers, deck penetrations and mechanical room layout,” says Veenstra.

What’s needed to execute a project like this?

“You need some really talented people and sophisticated technology. You have to enjoy working with others in a collaborative environment, and not be intimidated by the amount of detail and tedious work that’s required.  Baker Group’s detailers and designers have done a phenomenal job working with the design team,” Veenstra says.

“Baker Group has the people and tools necessary to work as a team and help develop the best solutions for our clients,” Veenstra says. “It is truly a privilege to work on a Renzo Piano project here in Des Moines.  We get to interact with Renzo’s team of consultants from Paris and New York, while constructing a very unique structure with a fantastic team of local designers and contractors.”

Learn how Baker Group overcame the design challenges presented by the new Krause Gateway Center.

About Baker Group

Founded in 1963 and with more than 500 employees across Iowa, Baker Group is the Midwest’s premier full-service specialty contractor providing mechanical, sheet metal, electrical, building automation, process automation, security systems, fire alarm systems, parking/revenue controls and 24/7/365 service.


Best Mechanical Contractor 2021

Best of Business Record Award

Baker Group was awarded the Des Moines Business Record's Best Mechanical Contractor for 2021!

Runner-up Best Electrical Contractor 2021

Best of Business Record Award

For the third year Baker Group is runner-up for Best Electrical Contractor, and for the first time we were recognized as runner-up for several other categories.