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The Foundry Distilling Company
West Des Moines, IA

The Foundry, a unique multi-tenant development set inside a historic railroad maintenance building, was built in 1899 for the Rock Island Railroad as a box car repair facility. The facility has had many uses throughout history including a plumbing warehouse and a foundry.

Designed as the city’s first mixed-use industrial development, the Foundry houses a beer hall (the Hall), distillery (Foundry Distilling Co), and non-profit food truck kitchen (the Kitchen). While each is a separate business, they are intended to work symbiotically toward a singular experience. The distillery produces libations in partnerships with local and regional micro-brewers and provides an industrial background and ambiance through a large viewing window into the Hall. The Hall offers the public heart of the development with its large open bench seating and outdoor patio. The Kitchen serves rotating food truck fare in the Hall, provides a home base for the trucks and offers a job training center for homeless youth.

Visually, all three tenants are united through common detailing and a raw industrial aesthetic. Historic elements – the masonry walls, cast iron columns, and steel trusses – were touched as lightly as possible while new elements of glass, raw steel, and reclaimed wood from boxcar floors were inserted. As a nod to its original use as a boxcar repair building, a shipping container was repurposed into the beer cooler behind the bar.


Year Built
Food Trucks
Zoning Codes Changed
Managing Architect
Evan Shaw

In addition to the technical requirements of the space, it was a unique challenge to manage so many people with such creative visions. All of them wanted to put their own stamp on the space, and it’s our job to both lift up that creativity while also bringing them together in a consistent vision.

Other team members: Abbey Potthoff, Mark Schmidt, Shannon McGee, Mark Nevenhoven

How we approach our projects
Our Process