Hancher Auditorium is a premier regional performing arts center that connects the University of Iowa with its vibrant surrounding community. From a hilltop overlooking the beautiful Iowa River, the new building welcomes artists and audiences to an innovative 1,800-seat proscenium theater, a black box theater, a three-story lobby and atrium, café and gift shop, and state-of-art backstage facilities. Hancher Auditorium furthers the university’s mission to give students, faculty, and staff an inspiring environment to hone ideas and bring transformative artistic works into being.
A theatrical home for performances that inspire and connect communities
Hancher’s main performance space is a distinctive 1,800-seat proscenium theater with the capacity to host a diverse range of performances. The visible catwalks and rigging equipment are painted deep blue to recede from view. Glowing circles of LED lights are woven and suspended from the ceiling, a landscape of figures that appear to expand and rise out of the space. The effect is subtle but celebratory, reflecting the transformative experience of an evening at the theater.
“The building’s curved glass and metal forms in concert with its transparency evoke a deep connection to the river and landscape and extend a welcoming invitation to the university and greater Iowa City community.” — Mitchell A. Hirsch, AIA, LEED AP
More About the Project
- Architect of Record: OPN Architects
- Structural Engineer: Thornton Tomasetti
- MEP: Alvine and Associates
- Acoustician: Kirkegaard Associates
- Theater Planner: Theatre Projects Consultants
- Location: Iowa City, Iowa, USA
- Client: The University of Iowa
- Size: 187,700 sq ft. / 17,439 sq. m.
- Completion: 2016
- Certification: LEED Gold
- Firm Role: Design Architect
- 2020, Architecture Merit Award, USITT
- 2019, Project of the Year, AIA Connecticut Design Awards
- 2019, Award of Excellence, AIA Connecticut Design Awards
- 2018, American Architectural Award, The Chicago Athenaeum
- 2017, Award of Excellence, International Association of Lighting Designers
- Principal Project Photography: Jeff Goldberg/ESTO