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Wallace Building

Quick Facts

Building Name, Address:

Wallace Building, 502 East 9th Street, Des Moines

Primary Occupants:

Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Department of Natural Resources, Department of Inspections & Appeals, Auditor of State, Public Information Board

Years Constructed:

1973 (planning/first appropriation received) - 1977 (completed). Dedicated July 7, 1978.

Designers & Builders:

Durant, Deininger, Domer, Kramer and Gordon of Dubuque, IA - Architect 
Tymar Construction of Beloit, Wisconsin -Contractor


The Henry A. Wallace State Office Building was originally conceived as an Agricultural Building to bring together many interconnected agencies under one roof. Known especially for its frequently photographed wall of gold-colored glass windows, it was named by the General Assembly in honor of Henry Wallace, the native Iowan, farmer, journalist, scientist, businessman, humanitarian, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary of Commerce and Vice President.

Until the Wallace Building was occupied, various agricultural and natural resources-related agencies were housed in the Capitol, a converted school building on the Capitol grounds, and other temporary facilities.

The design of the building included laboratory space, and a lobby with an indoor garden, aquarium (which was later removed) and exhibit areas. The Wallace Building also has an auditorium, and a sculpture – “Cosmic Seed” by Ronald Bladen – was commissioned for outside the main entrance.

Green Features

  • Free cooling
  • Optimized steam heating
  • Air Handling Unit (AHU) economizers
  • Lighting schedules and Air Handling Unit (AHU) occupied/unoccupied schedules are programmed through the building automation system
  • Fluorescent lighting upgraded to efficient T-8 lamps with electronic ballasts
  • Incandescent bulbs replaced with energy-saving compact fluorescent and LED lamps
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Looking down at the indoor garden in the Wallace Building.

Photo by: Darcy Pech

View of the Capitol through the gold windows of the Wallace Building. The indoor garden is in the foreground.

Photo by: Darcy Pech

Auditorium of the Wallace Building.

Photo by: Quality Automation Graphics