Astounding Architecture

Celebrate Iowa Architecture Month with the Iowa Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Enthusiasts can visit these 10 architectural wonders from across the state. From famous Frank Lloyd Wright buildings to restorations of epic proportions - you'll want to see them all.

Paramount Theatre, Cedar Rapids
Restored to its original beauty after a devastating flood in 2008, the Paramount Theatre features elaborate plaster forms on almost every interior surface; marezzo scagliola plaster; aluminum leaf, paints and glazes; hand-crafted crystal chandeliers and a one-of-a-kind Wurlitzer organ.

Paramount Theatre
Originally built in 1928, restored by OPN Architects in 2012.

Photo courtesy AIA Iowa

Woodbury County Courthouse, Sioux City
The largest Prairie School style building in Iowa, constructed of Roman brick with a granite base. Take in the elaborate terra cotta trim and sculptures at the west entrance to this National Historic Landmark.

Woodbury County Courthouse
Designed by William Steele and opened in 1918.

Photo courtesy AIA Iowa

Warren Cultural Center, Greenfield
This former opera house was restored in 2012 to include entertainment, commercial and residential space. The building was originally opened in 1896. The expansive windows, oxidized copper accents and turret are still distinct features of the building, located on Greenfield's town square.


Warren Cultural Center
Built by Ed and Eva Warren, originally opened in 1896. Renovated in 2012 by INVISION.

Photo courtesy AIA Iowa

Exile Brewing Company, Des Moines
This former warehouse was rehabilitated and repurposed into the Exile Brewing Company restaurant and brewery in 2012. Owned by the Tursi family of restaurateurs, the building was restored to fit the "exile" theme, honoring the family's immigration story. Exile beckons visitors with a life-size replica of the Statue of Liberty's copper crown on the top of the building. 

Exile Brewing Company
Former turn-of-the-century warehouse, rehabilitated by Slingshot Architecture in 2012.

Photo courtesy AIA Iowa

High Trestle Trail Bridge, Madrid
The High Trestle Trail, connecting Ankeny to Woodward, is highlighted by the half-mile bridge spanning the Des Moines River Greenbelt near Madrid. The primary purpose of the bridge was to integrate public art and interpretation to Iowa's trail system. Not only has the bridge won numerous architectural awards, it has become an icon and a Central Iowa destination.

High Trestle Trail
Designed by RDG Dahlquist Art Studio and completed in 2011.

Photo courtesy AIA Iowa

Merchants National Bank, Grinnell
A classic Louis Sullivan "jewel box" bank building, Merchants National Bank has been included in architecture textbooks for 70 years. It has also been designated a National Historic Landmark. The stunning terra-cotta entry welcomes visitors and the interior features large stained glass windows and a skylight.

Merchants National Bank
Designed by Louis Sullivan and opened in 1915.

Eagle Point Park Shelters, Dubuque
Another example of Prairie School style architecture, the shelters were referred to as "The City in a Garden" by the designer and appear to grow up from the ground. Eagle Point Park is situated along the Mississippi River and overlooks Lock and Dam #11.

Eagle Point Park Shelters
Designed by Alfred Caldwell and opened in 1937.

Photo courtesy AIA Iowa

Historic Park Inn Hotel, Mason City
The only remaining hotel designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the Historic Park Inn Hotel
is an internationally renowned and architectural wonder. The boutique hotel features 27 different rooms and suites, of which no two are alike.

Historic Park Inn Hotel
Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and opened in 1909.

St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Harlan
This beautifully-designed church combines Queen Anne-Shingle, Gothic Revival and Arts and Crafts styles.

St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Designed by Proudfoot & Bird and opened in 1900.
Photo courtesy AIA Iowa.

Terry Trueblood Boathouse, Iowa City
Constructed as part of the Terry Trueblood Recreation Area project, the boathouse is meant to engage visitors with the surrounding water. The area stands on a former quarry along the Iowa River and features views of the river, connections to trails and water activities.

Terry Trueblood Boathouse
Designed by ASK Studio and opened in 2012.

Photo courtesy AIA Iowa
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