Tower of tiles

An artist's $1 million mosaic adds vibrant color to an Iowa highway intersection.

By Maggie Overfelt, FSB contributor

(FSB Magazine) -- Drivers passing Des Moines on the Interstate now have more to admire than the Iowa plains. The Paragon Prairie Tower rises 120 feet in a blaze of colored glass where I-35 and I-80 meet in Urbandale.

Commissioned by R&R Realty Group (rrrealty.com) for its new business park, the $1 million column displays a mosaic of corn, native wildflowers, and wheat. A crew of marble artisans spent a year gluing one million one-inch tiles to the structure.

paragon_prairie_tower.03.jpg

"In planning more than 200 acres of commercial development, R&R could have done it in a manner that doesn't add to the quality of life. This cultural piece goes back to our Iowan roots," says Robert Layton, Urbandale's city manager. RDG Dahlquist (rdgusa.com) - a three-year-old firm that incorporates artwork into commercial buildings - designed the structure.

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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.