Tippie College of Business has outgrown a succession of homes

 

The John Pappajohn Business Building architecturally embodies the study of business at the University of Iowa.  Founded as the College of Commerce, the Tippie College of Business has outgrown a succession of homes, most recently Phillips Hall. Pappajohn Business Building also houses several related endeavors, including the Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center and the Small Business Development Center. These affiliated bodies work locally and regionally to assist Iowa-based enterprises.

When the UI’s College of Business moved from Phillips Hall, a rigorously Modernist building that consciously rejected the traditional Beaux-Arts Classicism of the Pentacrest, its new home would, by contrast, strive for a historicizing Postmodernism in sympathy with that older style. But the new building reimagines the Classicism of the Pentacrest and its neighbor, Gilmore Hall, through a contemporary lens. A commanding edifice of aggregate stone, the structure refers to the legacy of Proudfoot and Bird while enjoying the freedom of stylistic diversity of Postmodernism. It strays from both the rules and ornaments of classical design as well as Modernism’s taboos against historical references. While alluding to the Pentacrest, the pedimented entrance porticoes with their paired column shafts at the entrances stand forward of the glass curtain walls, completely detached from the main body of the building. And they are self-consciously unclassical in their lack of ornament and in their top-heavy proportions, seeming instead to make a statement about the atectonic nature of classical forms.

A commanding edifice of aggregate stone, the structure refers to the legacy of Proudfoot and Bird while enjoying the freedom of stylistic diversity of Postmodernism.

With Pappajohn’s denuded classicism, even the capitals are uncarved. The obsessive rectilinear geometry and prefabricated components, however, still pay homage to Modernism’s machine aesthetic. Temple fronts with truncated pagoda-like towers rise above the cornice at the juncture of the south and west wings as well as at t heir midpoints. Abundant clusters of dollar-bill-green square cubes form shade canopies over the tables on the exposed courtyard terrace. Pappajohn’s faux classicism also reference iconic financial institutions like the New York Stock Exchange.

Editor's Note:  "Architecture 101" is an introduction to the architecture of the University of Iowa campus and some of the history of a handful of its buildings. New chapters will be added weekly beginning in mid-June and through the fall.  All installments of Architecture 101 are excerpts from the second edition of the book, "The University of Iowa Guide to Campus Architecture," by John Beldon Scott and Rodney P. Lehnertz. The guide was published for the Office of the President by the University of Iowa Press and will be available for purchase in late summer/early fall 2016.