IOWA CITY -- Sitting exactly 2 feet above the 500-year floodplain, the University of Iowa’s new Visual Arts Building glistens. Classes for the fall semester began in the building early this week, and initial reactions to the exterior and interior design have been positive.
“It’s one of the finest buildings built in the last half century anywhere. It’s very purpose built,” said art Professor Steve McGuire. “You’ve got natural light that enters the building both from the outside and the interior, and then you’ve got mechanical systems that support some of the most advanced technology available to art students in the country.”
The new facility was a long-time coming after much of the old Art Building was destroyed by the 2008 flood.
After the flood, art classes were dispersed to other buildings, one of these being an old Menards building at 1375 Highway 1, which the UI renovated into a temporary Studio Arts Building.
“It has been very challenging for students to have to travel the distances to get to the temporary studio outside of town,” said art Assistant Professor Jeremy Swanston. “Commuting back and forth and making it to classes without delay was very challenging for students. So now having everything in a central location that connects them to the other arts is going to be really impactful for students in a positive way.”