- Senior Design Principals: Fred Clarke, Cesar Pelli
- Design Principal In Charge: Mitchell A. Hirsch
- Design Team Leader: Gina Narracci
- Senior Designer: Amrit Pilo
- Designers: Katy Harp Dinnen, Associate, Dylan Hames, Tiffany Fu, Carl Cornilsen
- Client: University of Iowa
- Architect Of Record/Associate Architect: OPN Architects
- Theatre Planning: Theatre Projects
- Curtainwall Consultant: Thornton Tomasetti
- Code Consultant: Code Consultants Inc
- Graphics And Wayfinding Consultant: Pentagram
- Cost Consultant: Vermeulens Cost Consultants
- Telecommunications: Threshold Acoustics
- City: Iowa City
- Country: United States
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.