UI meets potential School of Music architects

BY SAM LANE | NOVEMBER 12, 2010 7:20 AM

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University of Iowa officials met Thursday with the four architects who are finalists to design the new music building.

However, despite indications beforehand that the final decision might be made as early as Thursday, the meeting was "still in process" as of 5 p.m., said UI spokesman Tom Moore. He said the chosen firm will be made public in a press release.

Because the committee was still meeting, none of the members were able to comment, Moore said.
The committee, according to the head of one of the final groups, was a "sizable group" made up of officials from the School of Music, planning directors, and the state Board of Regents.

According to a report given to the regents at their most recent meeting in Iowa City, the building is slated to be located at the intersection of Burlington and Clinton Streets and construction is scheduled to be completed in December 2013.

However, in a closed session, the regents also discussed "unresolved issues" regarding the attainment of the land for the building. The area is occupied by branches of the Bank of the West and MidWestOne Bank.

"There is no knowledge that has arisen since the board meeting," said Regent Robert Downer. "At that time, things were not totally together."

Downer said he was not at liberty to disclose specifics and said "all of the parts were not in place as of that time."

The four firms were Charles T. Young, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and Ennead Architects, all from New York, and LMN Architects of Seattle.

Charles T. Young, who founded his firm in 1983, has worked on the Cleveland Institute of Music and was the project designer for the University of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.

"It's a site with great potential," Young said about the Iowa City location. "There's a lot of open space or space that can be evolved around it. [The new building] will affect not just the site but the entire district. It's a fine opportunity."

Diller Scofidio + Renfro was founded in 1979 and designed the renovation and expansion of the Juilliard School. It also designed the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston.

Founded in June 2010, Ennead Architects was the architect for the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Queens, N.Y., and the WGBH Public Broadcasting Station Headquarters in Boston.

LMN Architects, founded in 1979, designed Benaroya Hall, the home of the Seattle Symphony. The company is also credited with the design for Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, the home of the Seattle Opera and the Pacific Northwest Ballet.

It's still unclear when officials will reach a decision. For now, those in the School of Music are simply waiting.

"I'm excited to get the show on the road and start building here so we can have our new home," said Jeffrey Agrell, an associate professor of horn.

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