Art Building West and Visual Arts Building


You are here

Art Building West photoArt Building West

[Map] [Floor Plans] [Images] [Construction] [Design] 

Art Building West (ABW) was designed by New York architect Steven Holl. The building opened in 2006 only to be flooded in 2008. ABW reopened for classes in January of 2012. This extraordinary facility has received numerous awards, including:

Watch a video of students talking about their experience in Art Building West.
Watch the ABW Video Tour with Steven Holl.

Exterior of Visual Arts BuildingVisual Arts Building

[Map] [Floor Plans] [Images] [Construction] [Design]

Steven Holl Architects in collaboration with BNIM Architects, won the commission for the Visual Arts Building for the University of Iowa. The new building replaces the 1935 Art Building, which was heavily damaged during a flood of the University of Iowa campus in June 2008. The new building is directly adjacent to and northwest of Art Building West and at least two feet above the 500-year flood line.


  • Interior Design Magazine's Best of the Year Award Winner - Education, United States, 2016 (link)
  • Architect's Newspaper's "Building of the Year",  Midwest, 2016 (link)
  • WIRED magazine naming it one of the 25 best pieces of architecture in the world in 2016 (link)
  • 2017 AIA New York Honor Award (link)
  • 2017 Chicago Athenaeum American Architecture Prize (link)


Watch videos about the new Visual Arts Building.
Read a New York Times article on "The Innovative Campus" which includes the Visual Arts Building.
Visual Arts Building featured in a New York Times article on "The Amazing Expanding Arts Universe"
Featured in Architectural Record November, 2016
Visual Arts Building featured in international architecture magazine DOMUS, Dec issue 108.
Featured in Juxtapoz Magazine February 2017
Cover and feature article GA DOCUMENT #140