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Project

Hancher Auditorium Replacement Facility

In 2008, a 500-year flood of the Iowa River ravaged thousands of structures in the Iowa City region, including the University of Iowa’s Hancher Auditorium.

Lead Contact

Project Details

Project Partners
Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects & OPN Architects
Owner
University of Iowa
Location
Iowa City, Iowa
Completion Date
Area
185,000 ft²
Number of Seats
1,800
Hancher Auditorium at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. Thornton Tomasetti
Hancher Auditorium at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. William J. Adams photo.
Hancher Auditorium at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. Thornton Tomasetti
Hancher Auditorium at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. Thornton Tomasetti
Hancher Auditorium at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. Tim School/University of Iowa
Hancher Auditorium at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. Thornton Tomasetti
Revit model for Hancher Auditorium at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. Thornton Tomasetti
Hancher Auditorium at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. Courtesy Steelblue, Pelli Clarke Pelli Associates

Reestablishing a Cultural Landmark

In 2008, a 500-year flood of the Iowa River ravaged thousands of structures in the Iowa City region, including the University of Iowa’s Hancher Auditorium.

We provided structural design, façade engineering design, and construction support to Pelli Clarke Pelli and OPN Architects for the construction of the new Hancher auditorium, which was completed in 2016.

Highlights

  • The new facility features a 40-inch-thick hydrostatic slab designed to resist future floods.
  • Avoiding expansion joints on 500-foot facade: We collaborated with the project team to find a combination of structural support, skin design and operational guidelines that controls thermal movement, without sacrificing aesthetic priorities. 
  • Supporting sustainability goals: We analyzed temperature fluctuations within a cantilever soffit space to verify that the soffit’s structural steel members are within a permissible temperature range. 
  • Improving construction docs, reducing coordination issues: The project’s expedited schedule and sculptural form added levels of complexity to its design. Early steel bid packages necessitated that the team coordinate design criteria, equipment choices and loading requirements. This reduced change orders and improved construction doc quality. 
hancher Thornton Tomasetti
The rebirth of Hancher