Section Building-Parkade_final
May's Island - Before
Mays Island, which holds Cedar Rapids court house, is now submerged under flood water after the Cedar River overflowed its banks, Friday, June 13, 2008 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. For decades, Cedar Rapids escaped any major, widespread flooding, even during the Midwest deluge of 1993, and many people had grown confident that rising water would pose no danger to their city. The flood this time didn
May's Island - After
Veteran's Memorial Building - Before
Veteran's Memorial Building - After
Building Exterior_1
Auditorium Stage- Before
Auditorium Stage - After
Gymnasts warm up on the floor on Saturday, March 15, 2014, during the Iowa State Optional Gymnastics Championships at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. This is the first time the building was opened for event since the flood in 2008. (Justin Wan/The Gazette-KCRG TV9)
Auditorium and Grant Wood Window - After
Memorial Hall - Before
Grant Wood Before_1
Memorial Hall - After
Conference Room - Before
Conference Room - After
Behavioral Therapy Room - Before
Behavioral Therapy Room - After
Conference Room_2
Armory - Before
Armory - After
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Armory - Before
Armory - After
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Mezzanine Corridor - Before
3-Armory Corridor Before-Landscape
Mezzanine Corridor - After
3-Armory Corridor After-Landscape
Ballroom - Before
Ballroom - After
Restaurant - Before
Restaurant - After
Restaurant - After
Restaurant - After
Building Parkade - Completed
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Building Parkade - Completed
2014-05-21_rooftop face South - img 1 (1)

The Veterans Memorial Building in Cedar Rapids was severely damaged in a catastrophic thousand-year flood that struck the city in 2008. Located on May’s Island, in the middle of the Cedar River, the 110,000 square foot, civic building suffered damage to nearly 70% of its structure and interior. Alt Architecture was hired by the Cedar Rapids Veterans Commission to restore the building and reprogram the interior. The project converted what had been—by turns—the city hall, government offices, chamber of commerce, and an auditorium that had been abandoned for seven years prior to the flood  into a thriving building focused on providing healing spaces (as well as economic generators)  for Veterans,  and public spaces available for community use.

The building’s entry features a stunning stained glass memorial window by Grant Wood, measuring 20’x24’. The only stained glass window by Wood, the window is dominated by a woman (described by some as the allegory for the Republic, Peace and Victory, or Mourning), in the center, and under her, fields of corn and soldiers from the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the American Civil War, and World War 1 (of which Wood was himself a Veteran).

The new building houses a military museum, a fully restored auditorium with seats for 2,000, a conference center with spaces specifically designed for Veteran peer mentoring and therapeutic workshops, offices for behavioral and physical therapy for Veterans, a food pantry for homeless Veterans, a ballroom, a restaurant, a serving kitchen that can cater to 500 guests, and offices. The building’s mechanical, electric, and plumbing systems were all replaced as well—some replacing original elements from the 1930s.