Principal Riverwalk Pavilion and Pump Sation, Des Moines, Iowa (USA)


Principal Riverwalk Pavilion and Pump Station, Des Moines, Iowa (USA)

The city of Des Moines, Iowa, in the United States has no shortage of river banks: the city was founded at the confluence of the Des Moines and Raccoon rivers. Three bridges on the city's flag depict the strong presence of water.






Architect: Substance Architecture, Contractor: Midwest Glazing  
Technique: VMZINC® Standing Seam, Surface aspect: ANTHAR-ZINC®


The Principal Riverwalk project, initiated in 2006 in the form of a public private partnership, aimed to bring the city's residents back to the river. The project created by Substance Architecture Studio located around the Court of Justice Bridge is the culmination of this renewal project. It includes a restaurant, two buildings housing hydraulic pumps and public facilities, such as an esplanade and a cycle lane.



The new buildings frame the bridge like a door opening onto the river. They are divided into two parts: a stone base, high enough to resist flooding, and a lightweight superstructure over the top. The café (the starting point of the project) and the pump station (added to the programme after the river flooded in 2008) both feature a fluid, triangular layout reminiscent of the piers of a bridge or the bows of a ship. These two entities function like the bow and stern of a single complex. The use of dark grey zinc made it possible to use the vernacular of industrial metal construction. Its application is particularly subtle on the pavilion of the café, which is closed onto the street and completely open onto the river. The sharp roof bends to become a wall with numerous louvers, oriented so as to create an open or closed facade, according to the side from which the building is approached. From the bridge, it looks like a closed hull, a strong signal that makes passers-by want to visit this place, which is the point of departure to rediscover the river landscape.