Our Work

University of Iowa

Iowa City, Iowa

Confluence has led campus design and planning efforts for several enhancements and improvements to the University of Iowa Campus, including the following representative examples:

Hancher Auditorium: For over 30 years, Hancher Auditorium has supported the University of Iowa’s mission of teaching, research, and service by presenting the world’s finest arts and culture to students and the public. In 2008 historic flooding damaged numerous buildings on campus and necessitated replacement of the original iconic building.

Confluence was retained to serve as the Executive Landscape Architect for a multi-disciplinary design team led by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects selected to redesign a new auditorium and surrounding landscape to withstand the 500-year flood, provide connectivity, inspire creativity and function as a resilient landscape. Confluence led the site design for the new Hancher Auditorium, collaborated with Balmori Associates on the landscape design and plant selection, and was responsible for development of all site and landscape-related construction documentation.

Drawing from the building’s surroundings, the structure features sweeping horizontal forms which recall the curves of the Iowa River and the native Iowa landscape. The site surrounding the new auditorium features several entry plazas and a small outdoor performance venue.

Journalism Building: As part of a multi-disciplinary team, Confluence prepared several design alternatives for configuration and placement of a new Journalism Building that would address pedestrian circulation and service vehicle conflicts, contextual relationships with adjacent Campus areas, and the creation of a dynamic pedestrian plaza space. The plaza design drew inspiration from the patterns of the adjacent Iowa River corridor, layering them against the building grid. An arcing allee’ of overstory shade trees welcomes pedestrians and funnels them toward the plaza and existing library.

Pappajohn Biomedical Discovery Center: The Iowa Institute for Biomedical Discovery (IIBD) is a new building planned for a prominent location on the University of Iowa Medical Campus. This center completes the long range vision for this state of the art medical research facility and is the third and final building to be constructed on the site of the former Steindler Building. Confluence served as the landscape architect to develop the site master plan and prepare the design and construction documents for implementation.

The complex building program and constrained site limits required careful consideration of site topography, storm water management and pedestrian circulation issues. The site features a memorial to Arthur Steindler, the first chair of the Department of Orthopedics at the University and champion of the first Children’s Hospital at the then State University of Iowa. The site design utilizes native trees, grasses, forbs and geometric earth forms to accentuate the architecture of the building while providing a multitude of exterior spaces for large and small group functions. Our multi-disciplinary team also collaborated on the design of three distinct vegetated roof spaces which will be irrigated with rainwater harvested from the site. In addition, supplementary irrigation for the turf grass area of the site is being provided entirely with recycled rain water. The project has achieved LEED Gold Certification.

Arts Campus Master Plan: The University of Iowa retained Confluence to develop a master plan for the approximately 11.3-acre Arts Campus, including analyzing existing conditions and design opportunities related to recent construction of the new Art Building West , overall site circulation, existing and potential sculpture displays, and a series of outdoor spaces.

Master Plan recommendations include new pedestrian connections around the Art Building, new accessible entry to Art Building West and East annex, landscape enhancement throughout the campus, new bike parking areas, spaces to display student sculptures, and a gathering space near an existing pedestrian bridge.

College of Public Health: The College of Public Health (CoPH) building is housed on the former site of the International Center on the University of Iowa Campus. The building brings together departments and programs that have previously been spread across campus to a central location enabling faculty, students, and core administrative staff to interact more meaningfully.

The CoPH site is one of the most challenging on the University of Iowa campus due to its elevated location, steep topography and proximity to a major vehicle thoroughfare and active rail line. Confluence developed the site master plan and prepared design and construction documents for the site improvements.

The site features extensive use of native woody and herbaceous plants to limit water demand while reducing stormwater runoff and erosion. A pedestrian plaza anchors the south and east sides of the building and provides students and faculty an outside location in which to meet and study. The project has applied for LEED Gold Certification.

Rowing Team Boathouse: The P. Sue Beckwith, M.D. Boathouse was dedicated September 18, 2009. Built on the banks of the Iowa River in Terrell Mill Park, the Beckwith Boathouse will house the UI rowing team, the largest UI women’s team and the only Iowa Hawkeye athletic program that did not have a dedicated home. In addition, the boathouse will provide recreational opportunities for members of the UI campus and the surrounding community, with space for community crew clubs.

As part of a multi-disciplinary team, Confluence designed an integrated series of terraced rain gardens to accept roof runoff.  Planted with native species that can tolerate wet and dry conditions, these gardens treat pollutants on site and recharge groundwater by allowing runoff to percolate into the soil where it is naturally filtered and treated.  The project achieved LEED Gold certification, and became the first UI campus building to achieve any level of LEED certification.