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University of Iowa News Release


Jan. 12, 2007

UI Art Building West Receives 2007 American Institute of Architects Award

The University of Iowa Art Building West, designed by internationally acclaimed architect Steven Holl, has been selected for the Institute Honor Awards in architecture of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the AIA announced today in Washington, D.C.

Presented annually by the AIA, the Institute Honor Awards represent the profession's highest recognition of works that exemplify excellence. Awards are presented in three categories: architecture, interior architecture and urban design.

This year, 29 winners worldwide were selected from a total of nearly 700 submissions in the three categories. The awards will be conferred May 3 during the Honors and Awards Ceremony at the AIA 2007 National Convention and Design Expo in San Antonio, Tex.

Art Building West is the only building in Iowa to receive a 2007 Institute Honor Award from the AIA. It is among 11 winners in the architecture category, which includes structures in Los Angeles, Tucson, Phoenix, Toronto and Berlin. Schools and educational facilities made a remarkably strong showing, receiving eight of the 11 awards.

"Experiencing such a broad spectrum of outstanding work from the nation's architectural community was a special privilege for all," jury chair Richard A. Logan said. "The range of winning projects demonstrates both the power and diversity of great architecture."

Dorothy Johnson, director of the UI School of Art and Art History, commented: "This award is a great distinction for the School of Art and Art History, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the University of Iowa and the entire state. The prestigious AIA award honors the art of architecture, and one could have no more excellent an example than Steven Holl's unique and magnificent building.

"Holl has created a stunning work of art as well as a functional building where students can create and study art."

Earlier, Art Building West had received an Honor Award from the Iowa chapter of the AIA at its annual convention in September.

The building is featured in the January 2007 issue of Architectural Record. Pulitzer prize-winning critic Blair Kamin notes that the building "winningly navigates a third way between over-the-top expressionism and prosaic functionalism. Holl hasn't just made a knock-your-eyes-out building, a dynamic collage that wears a reddish-brown jacket of oxidizing steel and seems at home soaring over an old quarry pond. He's made a real place, one that painters carting around their canvases actually seem to like."

In October, the building was featured simultaneously in two of the most influential international architecture journals, Global Architecture (GA) and Domus.

A QuickTime slide show of more than 100 photos of Art Building West can be seen at: Other photos are posted online at

Steven Holl Architects of New York designed the new building for the University of Iowa with local architect Herbert Lewis Kruse Blunck Architecture of Des Moines. For UI Facilities Management, Michael Thomas and Rod Lehnertz are project managers, and Steve Schlote is the construction manager.

Considered one of America's most important architects, Steven Holl has been recognized with architecture's most prestigious awards and prizes and is widely published. His notable buildings include the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki, Finland, Simmons Hall at M.I.T., the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of Minnesota, and the Chapel of St. Ignatius at the University of Seattle, and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, which will open in June 2007 in Kansas City, Missouri. You may learn more about his work and view his designs at

The new building houses classrooms, studios, the new Art Library, gallery space and both faculty and administrative offices. The building's total space of 69,000 square feet includes 13,000 square feet of library space, 7,800 square feet of studio space, 2,405 square feet of classrooms and a 2,600-square-foot auditorium.

The building was dedicated Sept. 8, 2006, and it was in use by students and faculty of the School of Art and Art History throughout the fall semester. The cost of the building was $21.5 million, of which about $16 million was appropriated by the State of Iowa and more than $5 million came from gifts through the University of Iowa Foundation.

This building was part of the UI's recently concluded $1 billion comprehensive fund-raising campaign, conducted under the guidance of the UI Foundation. Named "Good. Better. Best. Iowa: The Campaign to Advance Our Great University," the seven-year effort raised private funds to help launch a variety of initiatives across the university. The UI Foundation is acknowledged by the UI as a preferred channel for private contributions that benefit all areas of the university.

Since 1857, the AIA has represented the professional interests of America's architects. More than 77,000 licensed architects, emerging professionals, and allied partners are members of the AIA.

The association states, "For 150 years, members of the AIA have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. AIA members have access to the right people, knowledge, and tools to create better design, and through such resources and access, they help clients and communities make their visions real."

For more information about the AIA, visit their Web page,

The School of Art and Art History is a unit of the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. You may visit the UI School of Art and Art History web site at

For information on UI arts events, visit on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to, click the link "Join or leave the list (or change settings)" and follow the instructions.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Peter Alexander, 319-384-0072; cell: 319-541-2846;

PHOTOS are available at