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University of Iowa Engineering Building – Seaman Center – Addition

Located in Iowa City, IA

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In order to support the influx of new students into the College of Engineering, The University of Iowa commissioned an addition to the Seaman’s Center for the Engineering Arts and Sciences.  The original building was constructed in 1905 and has had a number of additions since that time.  This 65,000 square foot addition sits opposite of the Old Capitol Town Center on Capitol Street and houses new classrooms, offices, collaboration spaces and research laboratories.  In order to save $4 Million in utility relocation costs, the building is perched above ground with clearance to allow construction vehicles to access existing steam, chilled water and medium voltage power that serves the Old Capitol Town Center.  This required tedious design to have the foundations clear the existing utility locations.  This area under the building also provides a space for the most ample and desirable bicycle parking space on campus that is covered and protected from the elements.
The majority of the utility services connect to the systems in the existing building.  However, new sanitary and storm services were required to support the facility.  In addition, a robust stormwater control system was desired.  A series of permeable paver sections were paired with two bio-cells and a water quality unit to clean, cool and slow the water before discharging into the stormwater system.  The building was also fitted with a green roof system to aid in this process.  The project installed infrastructure to allow researchers to mount equipment that monitors the quantity and quality of stormwater as it flows through the system.
The building sits on a hillside with 35 feet of elevation drop overlooking the Iowa River.  In order to provide a mechanism for pedestrians to traverse the landscape, a series of stairways and ramps was provided.  Each stairway was also provided with a channel to allow bikes to be pushed up or down the stairs with ease.  ADA access was accommodated with two ramps on the site as well as a 24-hour elevator within the building that has access to the first and second floor at-grade building entrances.  At snowmelt system was installed in the ramps, stairs and near each entrance to the addition.  It was also installed at a new entrance that was constructed to the Lindquist Center
The building’s west yard is filled with native Iowa plantings both within the bio-cells and along the hillside.  Much of the site is hilly and shaded which required special application of plantings that thrive and lock their roots into the soil without much sunlight.  A series of seat steps were installed in the west yard to allow students and classes to gather and learn or study while enjoying the lush surroundings.

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