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School of Art and Art History, University of Iowa, Iowa City, United States

Monday 23 Feb 2009

For art's sake...

copyright: Steven Holl Architects 
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Steven Holl Architects paint a picture without form 

The new 70,000 sf School of Art and Art History is a hybrid instrument of open edges and open centre; instead of an object, the building is a "formless" instrument. Implied rather than actual volumes are outlined in the disposition of spaces. Flat or curved planes are slotted together or assembled with hinged sections. Flexible spaces open out from studios in warm weather.

The main horizontal passages are meeting places with interior glass walls that reveal work-in-progress. The interplay of light is controlled through shading created by the overlapping planar exterior. Exposed tension rods of the partial bridge section contribute to the linear and planar architecture. Interior floors are framed in exposed steel and concrete planks, with integrated air and services distribution in the core voids.

The resulting architecture is a hybrid vision of the future, combining bridge and loft spaces, theory with practice and human requirements with scientific principles. The program for the Art and Art History Building incorprates facilities for sculpture, painting, printmaking, graduate studios, administrative offices, gallery, and a library.

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Steven Holl Architects

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