Visual Arts Building, University of Iowa

Visual Arts Building, University of Iowa

Architect
Steven Holl Architects
Location
Iowa City, IA, United States | View Map
Project Year
2016
Category
Universities
(c)Iwan Baan

Visual Arts Building, University of Iowa

Steven Holl Architects as Architects

The new Visual Arts facility for the University of Iowa's School of Art and Art History provides 126,000 sf of loft- like space for all visual arts media, from ancient metalsmithing techniques to the most advanced virtual reality technologies, including Ceramics, 3D Design, Metal Arts & Jewelry, Sculpture, Printmaking, Painting & Drawing, Graphic Design, Intermedia, Video Art, and Photography. Also housed are galleries, faculty offices, an outdoor rooftop studio, and teaching spaces for Art History.

photo_credit (c)Iwan Baan
(c)Iwan Baan

The Visual Arts Building replaces an original arts building from 1936, which was heavily damaged during a flood of the University of Iowa campus in June 2008. The new building forms an Arts Quad with Art Building West, which was designed by Steven Holl Architects and has drawn students from all over campus to its social spaces and library since opening in 2006. Together they form a visual arts campus for theorizing, teaching and making art.

photo_credit (c)Eric Dean
(c)Eric Dean

While the 2006 Arts Building West is horizontally porous and of planar composition, the new building is vertically porous and volumetrically composed. The aim of maximum interaction between all departments of the school takes shape in social circulation spaces.

photo_credit (c)Iwan Baan
(c)Iwan Baan

1. Interconnection: Horizontal Programs, Vertical Porosity
In a school of the arts today, interconnection and crossover, made increasingly possible through digital techniques, are of fundamental importance. Interdisciplinary collaboration between the School’s various art departments is facilitated in the vertical carving out of large open floor plates. Students can see activities ongoing across these openings and be encouraged to interact and meet. Further interconnection is facilitated by glass partitions along the studio walls adjacent to internal circulation.

photo_credit (c)Iwan Baan
(c)Iwan Baan

2. Multiple Centers of Light
Natural light and ventilation reach into the core of the building via “centers of light." The seven vertical cutouts are characterized by a language of shifted layers, where one floor plate slides past another. This geometry creates multiple balconies, providing outdoor meeting spaces and informal exterior working space, further encouraging interaction between the building’s four levels.

photo_credit (c)Iwan Baan
(c)Iwan Baan

3. Stairs as Vertical Social Condensers: Corridors as Horizontal Meeting Spaces Stairs are shaped to enable informal meeting, interaction and discussion. Some stairs stop at generous landings with tables and chairs, others open onto lounge spaces with sofas, for informal collaborative work.

photo_credit (c)Eric Dean
(c)Eric Dean

4. Campus Space Definition/Porosity
The original grid of the campus breaks up at the Iowa River, becoming organic as it hits the limestone bluff. The Arts West building reflects this irregular geometry in fuzzy edges. The new building picks up the campus grid again in its simple plan, defining the new campus space of the "arts meadow."

photo_credit (c)Chris McVoy
(c)Chris McVoy

5. Material Resonance, Ecological Innovation
Natural ventilation is achieved via operable windows and skylights. A punched concrete frame structure provides thermal mass at the exterior while "bubble" slabs provide radiant cooling and heating. A Rheinzink skin in weathering blue-green is perforated for sun shade on the southwest and southeast.

photo_credit (c)Chris McVoy
(c)Chris McVoy
Caption
Caption

Read story in ItalianoEspañolFrançaisDeutsch and Português

Featured Projects
Latest Products
News
Amsterdam’s iconic Droogbak building transformed into a 21st-century office space for a prestigious law firm
24 Jun 2022 News
Amsterdam’s iconic Droogbak building transformed into a 21st-century office space for a prestigious law firm

An iconic 19th-century building next to Amsterdam Central Station, Droogbak has been transformed int... More

Renovated hacienda-style villa in Belgium respects its history while exploring form and materials
24 Jun 2022 News
Renovated hacienda-style villa in Belgium respects its history while exploring form and materials

House VD-B by Graux & Baeyens architecten is a renovated hacienda-style villa in Evergem, Belgiu... More

Landmark urban renewal project comes to the heart of Bruges with the completion of The Bruges Meeting & Convention Centre (BMCC)
22 Jun 2022 News
Landmark urban renewal project comes to the heart of Bruges with the completion of The Bruges Meeting & Convention Centre (BMCC)

In the heart of the historic city of Bruges, The Bruges Meeting & Convention Centre (BMCC) is a... More

Award-winning New Museum of Ethnography by NAPUR Architect opens in Budapest
22 Jun 2022 News
Award-winning New Museum of Ethnography by NAPUR Architect opens in Budapest

Designed by NAPUR Architect, the recently opened New Museum of Ethnography in Budapest is a purpose-... More

New Royal College of Art campus by Herzog & de Meuron unveiled in Battersea
22 Jun 2022 News
New Royal College of Art campus by Herzog & de Meuron unveiled in Battersea

The Royal College of Art unveiled its new campus in Battersea, London this past month.  With a... More

TAO’s Qingyijiang Road Elementary School explores a decentralized school system design that embraces equality, non-hierarchy, freedom, and diversity
21 Jun 2022 News
TAO’s Qingyijiang Road Elementary School explores a decentralized school system design that embraces equality, non-hierarchy, freedom, and diversity

The Qingyijiang Road Elementary School by TAO (Trace Architecture Office) explores a decentralized s... More

House of Concrete Experiments by Samira Rathod Design Associates explores concrete in all its aspects
21 Jun 2022 News
House of Concrete Experiments by Samira Rathod Design Associates explores concrete in all its aspects

Located in the coastal town of Alibaug, near Mumbai, the House of Concrete Experiments by Samira Rat... More

Promodo Hub & Office by Bude Architects offers a transformable platform for the exchange of ideas
18 Jun 2022 News
Promodo Hub & Office by Bude Architects offers a transformable platform for the exchange of ideas

Situated in an actively developing IT district of Kharkiv, Promodo Hub & Office by Bude Architec... More