Iowa architects will hold their annual convention this week, and focus not on the design of new buildings, but on the renovation of existing structures. Randy Cram of Mason City, president of the Iowa chapter of the American Institute of Architects, says Iowa communities are facing changing economics, and architects are trying to find ways to revitalize abandoned and neglected structures. Cram says architects are trying to find unique and imaginative ways to reuse buildings within their communities.Cram says there’s a lot of architectural heritage in communities both large and small. The problem is often the cost of restoration. Cram’s firm, Bergland and Cram Architects, has helped restore Mason City buildings that have become part what he calls a “cultural crescent” that celebrates the work of a famed architect. The Rock Glenn neighborhood designed by Frank Lloyd Wright is being restored.The Iowa Chapter of the American Institute of Architects is hosting an “Iowa Futures Symposium” at the Des Moines Art Center on Wednesday, September 25th. The group’s annual convention will follow on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.The architects will visit the Temple for the Performing Arts in Des Moines, a Masonic Temple that was saved from the wrecking ball and restored.The Temple will host concerts and house the Des Moines Symphony offices. A Starbucks coffee shop opened last week, and a restaurant is set to open next month.
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