Members of Thornton Tomasetti’s Hancher Auditorium project team: (from left) Chris Hart, Carol Post, Justin Cline, Rafael Tarrol, Nate Sosin and Barnaby Wauters.
The University of Iowa, Hancher Auditorium project team and local community came out for a “Leave Your Mark” event on Oct. 7-8 to celebrate the halfway point in the venue’s development. The 185,000-square-foot performing arts facility is replacing an older auditorium, built in 1972 and damaged in 2008 by the record-high river waters of a 500-year flood. Thornton Tomasetti is providing structural design and building skin services to OPN Architects, the architect of record, and construction support services to steel fabricator American Structural Metals. Pelli Clarke Pelli is the design architect. The building will contain a 1,800-seat proscenium theater, rehearsal and teaching space, offices and scene and costume shops. Like its predecessor, it will be the region’s premier performing arts facility hosting music, dance, opera and theatrical performances. Among its unique design features is a 40-inch-thick hydrostatic slab designed to resist future floods and a concrete slab at the third level that extends more than 500 feet from tip to tip. Buildings of this length typically require expansion joints, which are maintenance intensive and aesthetically unappealing. Our close collaboration with the architects, mechanical engineers and sustainability consultants allowed the project team to define a set of operational temperatures that would limit stresses in the structure and forgo the need for an expansion joint. The façade will consist of glass and stainless steel shingles. A 70-foot cantilever canopy will cover the southern entrance. The auditorium, which is on track for LEED Silver certification, is scheduled to open in fall 2016.
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