The Voxman Music Building embraces a collaborative and exploratory student-driven model of education that treats every space as performance space. The building shares this sense of musical discovery with the community through a transparent, interactive expression. Conceptually, the pattern of streets and open spaces in the mixed-use district of Iowa City extends directly into the interior spaces, cultivating a sense of vertical urban vitality and acknowledging its downtown civic presence.
The six-story building is situated between the campus and the downtown core of Iowa City, embracing both academic and urban experiences. The program comprises a 700-seat concert hall, a 200-seat recital hall, an organ performance hall, a music library, rehearsal rooms, practice rooms, classrooms, and faculty studios and offices. A multi-story glass corner entry at a major downtown intersection reinforces the merger of campus and city, with the two major performance venues marking their presence on each of the main facades. Between the performance spaces, porous, day-lit circulation volumes interlink to form the student commons, performance and rehearsal lobby, and three-story atrium.
All spaces in the building, including performance spaces, provide natural light and connections with the outside, while maintaining acoustic isolation. Virtually every room is acoustically tuned and tunable—enhancing pedagogical flexibility, reinforcing the value of serendipitous collaboration, and cultivating opportunities for active and team-based learning. Many performance needs are met by architectural design. The concert hall features a suspended “theatroacoustic” system, unifying acoustics, lighting, and life-safety requirements into a dramatic, multi-functional expression, and the resulting intricately sculpted element is assembled out of 946 unique, folded-aluminum composite modules digitally fabricated from a parametric model. In the rehearsal spaces, high ceilings are filled with swarms of colored, kite-like reflectors that vary between solid and perforated to achieve dynamic acoustical and lighting effects.