Our Focus on Making Healthy Spaces


Recently, I had the opportunity to speak at the Healthy People Healthy Places: Principles for Building Healthy Places conference hosted by, among others, Urban Land Institute of Iowa. The conference gave me a chance to talk about what we’re doing to help make our projects healthier places to live, work and play.

Through the lens of three very different projects—The Foundry, Gavilon World Headquarters and Iowa Army National Guard AFRC—with different end users and uses, we can highlight our approach to creating healthy spaces to live, work and play.

The Foundry

The Foundry is one of our latest student housing developments. Currently under construction near Iowa State University in Ames, the mixed-use, urban infill is pedestrian friendly and adjacent to campus. Research shows an active student is a better learner, and this building will cater to that active student.

Various health components have been worked into this building to promote overall wellness.

  • Social – The building creates a community with common spaces for recreation.
  • Active – On-site bike storage, fitness and tanning facilities help support the active student.
  • Mind – Dedicated study areas allow a student to focus on his or her education without distraction.
  • Site – The urban, pedestrian-friendly site will allow residents to walk rather than drive to campus and many other local attractions.

Gavilon World Headquarters

We completed Gavilon’s headquarters a year ago. The building features two levels of parking and three levels of office space, including a 20,000-square-foot trading floor. Built in downtown Omaha, the building serves the company’s agriculture trading business.

Health components of this building include:

  • Site – The urban redevelopment maximizes density and proximity to attractions.
  • Building – The daylight system and raised floor HVAC diffuser promote natural lighting and high indoor air quality.
  • Nutrition – With all organic food and local restaurants providing lunch on two week rotations, Gavilon’s employees have convenient access to healthy food options.
  • Fitness – With an outside provider offering fitness classes, usage of the facility is up.

Iowa Army National Guard Armed Forces Readiness Center

The AFRC was designed and built to accommodate up to 500 soldiers on the weekend and 60 full-time employees to train, equip, maintain and deploy personnel and equipment.

The LEED Gold certified facility features many healthy aspects, including

  • geo thermal HVAC,
  • high insulation values,
  • energy-efficient lighting,
  • regional and local purchasing of materials,
  • recycled materials,
  • low-VOC emitting materials and
  • high indoor air quality

Many of our clients are driving the demand for healthy spaces. We’ve found great success putting people first and creating communities around health. Building healthy places can transcend uses and be done economically.