Posts tagged with "Iowa City":

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Shingled glass and twisting terra cotta accentuate new music building in Iowa City

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Open last year in Iowa City, the University of Iowa Voxman Music Building is a six-story, 184,000-square-feet academic building containing performance spaces, a music library, practice rooms, classrooms, and faculty studios and offices. It establishes a connection between the community and the school though specific massing articulation and building envelope detailing. LMN Architects credited their collaboration with W.J. Higgins (envelope), Weidt Group (energy consultant), Jaffe Holden (acoustics), and Design Engineers (MEP) with ultimately delivering a high-performance acoustic and energy-saving building envelope design. Among other awards, the building recently received the 2017 Excellence in Energy Efficient Design Award at at the 2017 AIA Iowa Convention in Des Moines.
  • Facade Manufacturer Wausau Windows (glazing); Foshan X+Y (terracotta)
  • Architects LMN Architects; Neumann Monson Architects (Associate Architect)
  • Facade Installer AWS (envelope contractor/installer)
  • Facade Consultants W.J. Higgins & Associates, Inc. (envelope consultant); Overgaard (envelope consultant to contractor); Magnusson Klemencic Associates (Structural); Design Engineers (MEP); Jaffe Holden (Acoustics & A/V); The Weidt Group (energy analysis)
  • Location Iowa City, IA
  • Date of Completion 2016
  • System unitized terracotta rainscreen; glass curtain wall
  • Products large format low iron glass from Wasau; custom terracotta from Foshan X+Y
Throughout the Voxman Music Building, the project team created an array of bespoke systems that responded to unique challenges presented by the complexity of the building type and programming. From facade components to acoustic systems, LMN worked to optimize the often conflicting needs of acoustic performance, aesthetic quality, and constructability. One of the most recognizable elements of the building design is a cantilevered “shingled” glass wall, containing a recital hall for students. Exposing this space, and expressing its function to the surrounding area, was central to the connective ideology of the project. It is here that students, in the words of LMN partner Stephen Van Dyck, learn about the art of performance. Prototyping scale models developed by the architectural team helped establish constructability goals and manage contractor bidding on the job. “We found that if we could build the design through models, it became much easier to have a discussion with contractors about our intent.” The unique facade was constructed as a series of rectangular units that produced a gridded, cantilevered steel frame for individual glass units to sit within. Aside from the shingled glass recital space, all other performance spaces were clad with a unitized terracotta system. The baguettes were composed of variable combinations of textures (smooth and grooved) and glaze finishes (matte and glossy). The resulting effect was a dynamic surface quality capitalizing on variable daylight conditions, including what the architects noted as exceptional sunrises and sunsets. Van Dyck said this idea of variable form and finish options within a base cladding material was one of the successes of the project and ended up guiding future facade designs, one of which is currently under construction. At key moments, terracotta cladding tiles formally twist into vertical fins. These moments accentuate a break between major program elements within the building. To ensure the accuracy of the complex form, the architects worked with the terra cotta manufacturer to develop a jig in which the extruded clay would be slumped, dried and later fired. “Buildings need to read at a variety of scales,” said Van Dyck. At a distance, the facade of Voxman reads at a solid/void compositional level. The medium scale allows for a reading of how program in the building is dispersed, through the cladding and aperture distribution. At a detail scale, the shimmering quality of varied terracotta tiles becomes legible. LMN’s Tech Studio, a small team within the firm, was integrated with the project team from the beginning of the design, playing a central role in the rationalization of surface geometry and interior acoustical surface detailing. Combining research in acoustic properties, material science and manufacturing processes, Van Dyck said the team approached each opportunity with a similar toolkit. Parametric modeling was central to the pursuit, enabling rapid ideation and precise geometric control despite vast complexity. In-house prototyping capabilities augmented the team’s abilities to test ideas well before finalizing documentation and procurement. Van Dyck said project opportunities often spawn unanticipated research problems that can be packaged to solve future design problems, and that the work from Voxman, which was completed last year, served as a basis for current and future projects. Further details can be found on LMN’s website documenting their acoustic related form-finding research and “Theatroacoustic System.” Van Dyck is co-chairing the upcoming Facades+ conference in Seattle, on Decemeber 8, 2017. More information about this conference and its participants, including registration details, can be found here.
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2016 Building of the Year > Midwest: University of Iowa Visual Arts Building by Steven Holl Architects

The Architect’s Newspaper (AN)’s inaugural 2013 Best of Design Awards featured six categories. Since then, it's grown to 26 exciting categoriesAs in years past, jury members (Erik Verboon, Claire Weisz, Karen Stonely, Christopher Leong, Adrianne Weremchuk, and AN’s Matt Shaw) were picked for their expertise and high regard in the design community. They based their judgments on evidence of innovation, creative use of new technology, sustainability, strength of presentation, and, most importantly, great design. We want to thank everyone for their continued support and eagerness to submit their work to the Best of Design Awards. We are already looking forward to growing next year’s coverage for you.

2016 Building of the Year > Midwest: University of Iowa Visual Arts Building

Architect: Steven Holl Architects Location: Iowa City, IA

The new Visual Arts Building for the University of Iowa’s School of Art and Art History, which replaced a 1936 building that was heavily damaged by a flood, provides 126,000 square feet of loft-like studio space for all visual arts disciplines by utilizing both traditional techniques and advanced technologies. Alongside Art Building West—also designed by Steven Holl Architects and completed in 2006—the two structures define a visual arts campus for the theorizing, teaching, and making of art. Studios are open and visible to display each discipline’s practice and product, while seven vertical cutouts through the building’s horizontal floor plates maximize natural light and ventilation.

Associate Architect BNIM Architects

Structural Engineers BuroHappold, Structural Engineering Associates Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing Design Engineers Zinc and perforated stainless-steel exterior skin RHEINZINK Glass Bendheim Architectural Glass Honorable Mention: Building of the Year > Midwest: Gordon Parks Arts Hall

Architect: Valerio Dewalt Train Associates Location: Chicago, IL

Reinterpreting the neo-gothic architecture of the University of Chicago’s neighboring buildings, the Gordon Parks Arts Hall celebrates the school’s commitment to hands-on learning with rooms designed to produce and present content.

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A grassroots organization starts an environmental movement in Iowa City

One might not expect Iowa City, a midsize heartland town of 70,000, to be on the forefront of urban sustainability issues. But Iowa City has everything to lose if climate change isn’t addressed. In 2008, a massive flood caused an estimated $64 billion in damage to the state, roughly equivalent to that caused by Hurricane Sandy. That flood was preceded by 239 tornados, which hit the Midwest over a nine-day period.

Iowa City, a UNESCO City of Literature, has a strong, culturally active citizenry, and now it is working to channel that energy into securing its environmental future. After the flood waters subsided, and the tornado damage was clear (damage from both of those events is still evident eight years later), a group of Iowa City residents began to seriously think about how design could be used to achieve a more sustainable urban center. “Ecopolis Iowa City” was organized to brainstorm urban restoration, biodiversity, local food, inclusionary and urban designs, renewable energy, and transportation initiatives for the future of the city. Initially holding informal meetings, Ecopolis Iowa City eventually started to sponsor forums that would use storytelling, music, and conversation to identify and generate ideas. From 2014 to 2016, the events eventually turned into a movement.

The city’s 2015 fall election saw a progressive council majority win for the first time in nearly 50 years. In spring 2016, Mayor Jim Throgmorton issued a “Regenerative City” proclamation. The proclamation set goals to “replant native prairies and trees to store carbon in the soils; expand urban agriculture; to power our city and neighborhoods efficiently through green building designs and renewable energy; to expand citywide recycling and composting through a zero waste ordinance; to make low-carbon transportation choices; to grow green jobs and support companies actively greening their operations.” By summer, the ideas from the Ecopolis Forums were worked into a proposed Iowa City Climate Action Plan.

The plan aims to expand and guide the regenerative city initiatives. Iowa City is already investing $60 million into raising a major route into the city above the 100-year flood level, but the plan calls for many more actions at different scales. From establishing protected “ecodistricts” to enforcing new sustainable building requirements, the plan may greatly affect the city’s future fabric. The plan sets greenhouse gas emission and transit diversity goals through 2030, with an eye on changing the way average citizens understand their impact on the environment.

Though the Iowa City Action Plan has not been formally adopted by the city, Ecopolis points out that the six million sandbags Iowa City residents filled to try and save their city in 2008 is a sign they are ready and able to make major changes. And with Ecopolis founders now on the city council, the time is better than ever.

This article was part of our Oct. 12 issue which focused on how water is shaping today’s landscape architecture and urbanism. Communities face deluges and droughts—for some, the stakes can be survival itself, but others see opportunities for decadence. To explore these stories from around the U.S. and the world, click here.

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Iowa City picks Cecil Balmond for downtown art project

Iowa City this week picked engineer-turned-artist Cecil Balmond to anchor an overhaul of the city's downtown pedestrian plaza. His sculpture will be the focal point of Iowa City's Black Hawk Mini Park Art Project, the first phase of an $11 million streetscape redevelopment project that officials hope to start next year. Balmond's work aims to enliven public spaces with forceful, architectural installations. His studio has strung shafts of light in Anchorage, Alaska, explored the Solid Void of sculpture with a forest of metal filigree in Chicago's Graham Foundation, and woven steel like rope to bridge a Philadelphia railway. The Chicago Transit Authority recently tapped Cecil Balmond Studio to contribute art for an overhaul of the 91-year-old Wilson Red Line station. An artist review panel consisting of Genus Landscape Architects Brett Douglas and Angie Coyer, and Iowa City staff Geoff Fruin and Marcia Bollinger selected U.K.–born Balmond over artists Vito Acconci and Hans Breder. Construction on the project is expected to begin next year.