Athene USA Headquarters
West Des Moines, Iowa
Athene USA Headquarters (formerly Aviva USA Headquarters)
West Des Moines, Iowa

Personal connection. Insurance has evolved beyond numbers and tables into an industry focused on the people. The work environment needs to promote the evolution of the industry.  It needs to embody that personification by incorporating a personality within its space.

The Athene USA Headquarters, formerly Aviva USA Headquarters, surrounds a central landscaped area for pedestrian-only activities. The strategy was to help the client realize its goal of making the environment an integral part of the culture. Aspiring for a united campus, the client consolidated the firm’s operations at three nearby buildings in downtown Des Moines into one corporate campus. The goals: improve workplace adjacencies, promote connectivity, streamline workflow and offer the best working environment for employees. The design incorporates the latest technology in an environment that facilitates and encourages collaboration, teamwork, efficiency and innovation. These are essential to promoting the service-oriented culture that is the lifeblood of the company’s growth strategy and future success.


The Design

The complex includes a two-story commons building located to the north of an eight-story office tower. Featuring a curved glass wall, the commons building houses amenities such as training rooms, conference areas, dining areas and a fitness center. The public areas, enhanced by a sweeping wall of glass, overlook the landscaped, picturesque park-like environment. An eight-story, glass-encased stair tower serves as a vertical entry icon to the project. The transparent entry celebrates the activity within the building during the day and at night. The icon also serves a dual purpose: promoting wayfinding and encouraging a healthy workplace environment. The light-soaked stairs tempt would-be elevator users to burn a few calories while enjoying the nearby scenery.

Technology Untethered
Inside, the open office layout hosts teaming areas, commons areas, outdoor balconies and Wi-Fi computer network connections – enhancing interaction between teams and groups while stimulating creative, customer-centric business solutions. 

Each of the campus’ 35-foot bay spaces are customized to meet the needs of circulation patterns, department sizes and furniture layout, further promoting collaborative, flexible, efficient and open workspace designs. In addition, all workspaces are designed to allow employees to enjoy the maximum amount of outside light possible.

Local Materials
The exterior of the building rests upon a base of native Iowa limestone. Precast concrete, complemented by large expanses of glass, is designed to provide visual interest and natural daylighting. Metal vertical accents, located behind each column of the office building, define the vertical grid, accenting the tower’s strong horizontal lines that evolve naturally out of the horizontal limestone strata.


“In combining three different offices into a central headquarters, we took employees, many of whom worked in basements and small-windowed, dim-corridored office buildings, out of the dark and gave them stimulating, day-lit environments.”