The Iowa Writer’s Workshop is a world-renowned creative writing program — the first such program established in the nation. Currently, the workshop is housed in the Dey House, an 1850’s Italianate house. It is the University’s oldest building and it sits on top of a 70-foot bluff overlooking the Iowa River Valley.
The project program adds 9,000 square feet of faculty offices, a library, and a student commons. The Glenn Schaeffer Library is the centerpiece of the program designed to house first-edition copies of every book published by graduates of the Workshop. The library was designed to maximize views of the surrounding landscape and provide a warm, welcoming sanctuary for students and visitors. The commons is also intended to host public readings by student and visiting authors. The design of the new structure places the building away from the street to maintain Dey House’s street prominence. This position also allows the new building to capture stunning views of west campus and the Iowa River bend. The character of the building has a residential feel to support the intimate process of writing, public reading, and feedback. Natural stone, sloped copper roofs, and wood windows highlight the building design.
“This glorious, light-filled building is already having a tremendous positive effect on our program. Students, faculty and staff have been struck by the beauty and tranquility that suffuse every room, creating an ideal atmosphere for writing, contemplation and learning.”
— Lan Samantha Chang, Director, Iowa Writers’ Workshop