The Iowa Memorial Union is a vital facility on the University of Iowa campus. It is often the place where the University makes its first impression on potential students, faculty, and staff. It is also the place where current students come to plan and participate in experiential learning opportunities, meet with classmates, grab a bite to eat, and listen to lecturers and concerts.
A facility survey was conducted prior to renovation work which outlined a comprehensive, multi-phase renovation strategy to improve wayfinding, food services, book store, student government offices, and gathering spaces.
New Addition: A new, three-story infill, bridges the aesthetic of the original Memorial Union and a 1960’s addition, to create a new main entrance. The facade has extensive amounts of glass to provide a transparent view into the heavy, solid appearance of the building, and serves as a beacon to welcome students, faculty, staff, and visitors to the I.M.U.
The main level of the new addition is an open, flexible, living room space for students to gather, meet, relax, and study. Located at the intersection of the building’s main circulation paths, this space is the “hub” for the facility. The second level contains a new open office area for the many student activities and clubs. The third level houses a multi-purpose, black-box space that will be fit-out as part of a future phase.
Bookstore: The lower level Bookstore space was completely remodeled to create a better flow for shoppers, a more efficient cash-wrap area, and a much stronger connection to a major circulation path, outside of the current food-service, “grab & go” area. As a part of the Bookstore improvements, a new student lounge area was created on the busy lower level of the I.M.U.
Main Lounge: To allow the Bookstore operations to remain uninterrupted during renovations, the Bookstore was temporarily relocated to the historic Main Lounge. After the Bookstore relocated to their newly remodeled space, the Main Lounge was completely renovated with new finishes and lighting/ AV upgrades to support the many uses of the room, such as concerts, presentations, dance marathons, weddings, etc.
River Terrace: Considering that the University of Iowa campus straddles the Iowa River, there was surprisingly little outdoor gathering space along the river. A new limestone terraced lawn area provides just the spot and is intended for informal gathering, concerts, plays, impromptu gathers, and most of all, a great place to hang-out along the river’s edge.