Hancher Auditorium / Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects

Hancher Auditorium / Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects

© Goldberg/Esto   © Goldberg/Esto   © Goldberg/Esto   © Goldberg/Esto   + 35

Auditorium  · 
Iowa City, United States
  • Senior Design Principals

    Cesar Pelli, FAIA, JIA, RIBA Fred Clarke, FAIA, JIA, RIBA,
  • Design Principal in Charge

    Mitchell A. Hirsch, AIA, LEED AP
  • Design Team Leader

    Gina Narracci, AIA, Associate Principal
  • Senior Designer

    Amrit Pilo, Leed AP, Senior Associate
  • Designers

    Katy Harp Dinnen, Associate, Dylan Hames, Tiffany Fu, Carl Cornilsen
  • Client

    University of Iowa
  • Architect of Record/Associate Architect

    OPN Architects
  • Structural Engineer

    Thornton Tomasetti
  • MEP Engineer

    Alvine Engineering
  • Landscape Designer

    Balmori Associates/Confluence
  • Theatre Planning

    Theatre Projects Consultants
  • Acoustics

    Kirkegaard Associates
  • Civil Engineer

    Shive-Hattery, Inc.
  • Curtainwall Consultant

    Thornton Tomasetti
  • AV/Telecommunications

    Threshold Acoustics
  • LEED/Environmental Consultant

    Atelier Ten
  • Vertical Transportation Consultant

    Lerch Bates, Inc.
  • Code Consultant

    Code Consultants, Inc.
  • Lighting Designer

    Cline Bettridge Bernstein Lighting Design Inc.
  • Interior Designer

    Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects
  • Graphics and Wayfinding Consultant

  • Cost Consultant

    Vermeulens Cost Consultants
More Specs Less Specs
© Goldberg/Esto
© Goldberg/Esto

Text description provided by the architects. Hancher
Widely recognized for commissioning new works of dance and music, Hancher reaches audiences well beyond the University of Iowa. The new home for this renowned institution occupies a prominent location in Iowa City.

© Goldberg/Esto
© Goldberg/Esto

Overall Planning/Massing
The design responds to its site and context on the exterior, and to its program and planning adjacencies on the interior. The exterior building design is specifically influenced by the Iowa River to its east, Park Road and City Park to its north, the Levitt Center to its west, and the Arts Campus to its south. The long sweeping curves of the building respond to the bend and flow of the Iowa River and its surrounding topography. Its tapered and cantilevered forms allow for the maximum amount of transparency at all levels of the public lobbies. Smaller scaled elements along Park Road echo the forms of the adjacent Levitt Center.  The Levitt Center’s rotunda, along with the Hancher Rehearsal Room volume, forms a metaphorical gateway to the Arts campus. 

Site Plan
Site Plan

There are two ADA accessible, pubic entrances at the south east and south-west corners of the building. The loading dock and loading court off of Park road was designed to accommodate large turning radii required by semi-trucks. Three berths/truck-docks load into the scene dock/transfer area, which is directly adjacent to the main stage. The dressing rooms, the production offices, crew rooms are all designed for maximum efficiency and convenient stage relationships.

© Goldberg/Esto
© Goldberg/Esto

Exterior Materials
The exterior skin is comprised of stainless steel and glass ribbons. The cypress wood soffits lend a welcoming and inviting quality to the building, enhancing the natural warmth of the spaces as it transitions from exterior to the interior. 

© Goldberg/Esto
© Goldberg/Esto

All public spaces offer panoramic views of the river and the campus. The lobby atrium is a light filled space with a ribbon like terrazzo grand stair threading and connecting the four lobby levels on its ascent. The west wall of the lobby expresses the shaping and movement of the building and is finished in a special pearlescent plaster. The skylights that appear on different levels reinforce the shape of the building and allows for dramatic secondary lighting and transparency.

© Goldberg/Esto
© Goldberg/Esto

The new auditorium creates an intimate experience between the patrons and the performers on stage. The curved, sweeping balconies and terraces continue the idea of the exterior ribbons throughout the interior of the hall. The individually adjustable arced LED lighting fixtures reinforce the shape and geometry of both the building and the hall and creates a dramatic theatrical experience. A collapsible orchestra shell, adjustable acoustics, AV systems and production lighting allow the hall to be tailored specifically for performances ranging from orchestra and opera to Broadway presentations and dance. 

© Goldberg/Esto
© Goldberg/Esto
© Goldberg/Esto
© Goldberg/Esto

Rehearsal Room
Although the rehearsal room has its own exterior entrance, a grand gallery connects it to the main lobby. This acoustically and theatrically flexible room can host events ranging from receptions to experimental theater, including potential events utilizing the acoustically glazed north wall and intimate outdoor amphitheater. 

© Goldberg/Esto
© Goldberg/Esto

Product Description. The exterior stainless steel panel system was custom manufactured by AWS, Architectural Wall Systems, of Iowa. This rain screen panel system is made of 18”x60” 2mm thick stainless steel panels. The panels utilize a non-directional brushed finish that diffuses the light and reflection. They are installed in a staggered pattern and are non-sequential, allowing individual panels to be changed at any time. Architecturally, this results in a taught and subtly textured skin that sublimely reflects the ever-changing sky, sunlight, and landscape.

© Goldberg/Esto
© Goldberg/Esto

Project gallery

See all Show less

Project location

Address: Iowa City, IA, USA

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Cite: "Hancher Auditorium / Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects" 15 Nov 2016. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884
Read comments
Read comments

You've started following your first account!

Did you know?

You'll now receive updates based on what you follow! Personalize your stream and start following your favorite authors, offices and users.