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University of Iowa News Release


June 18, 2007

Royal Institute Of British Architects Honors UI Art Building West Designer

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has given Steven Holl Architects of New York two of eight awards this year recognizing outstanding architectural work around the world, one for the New Residence at the Swiss Embassy in Washington, D.C. and the other for the University of Iowa Art Building West.

A second Iowa building won a RIBA award for David Chipperfield Architects, which designed the new Des Moines Public Library. Awards also went to buildings in Australia, Yemen and New York City.

Winning designs will be showcased and the winners feted at the RIBA National and International Awards Dinner in London June 22.

Art Building West has already netted state and national honors from the American Institute of Architects and accolades from the architectural community. The building was 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 2006 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 designed the new building for the UI with local architect Herbert Lewis Kruse Blunck Architecture of Des Moines. For UI Facilities Management, Michael Thomas and Rod Lehnertz were project managers, and Steve Schlote was 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, the Chapel of St. Ignatius at the University of Seattle, and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri. More information about his work and images of his designs are available 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. 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 UI 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.

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

For information on UI arts events, visit on the World Wide Web. 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

CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073,