University of Iowa Psychological and Brain Sciences Building
AIA Iowa 2021 Design Award
The Psychological and Brain Sciences Building establishes an important gateway to the University of Iowa campus. As an anchor of the campus and connection to the neighboring downtown central business area, the design of the Psychological and Brain Sciences Building reaches out toward the campus community and provides an inviting environment for all who interact with it. The building serves a unique purpose as both a teaching and an active research facility, and frequently welcomes students, faculty members, researchers, and visitors of all ages to the University of Iowa campus.
Providing numerous administrative functions, active learning classrooms, research laboratories, faculty offices, and collaboration and learning spaces, the Psychological and Brain Sciences Building establishes a renewed presence on the University of Iowa campus. Activity from the building’s main entry plaza gravitates into a porous social commons and lobby that serves as a focal point of interaction. The introduction of views throughout the building and corridors bookended by generous natural daylight improves wayfinding and connects the facility’s different functional spaces.
The existing facilities did not support the needs of the department, lacking the human-purposed design qualities necessary to the practice of Psychology. The new Psychological and Brain Sciences Building is designed to open the building in a transformative way, focused on supporting occupant health, comfort, and well-being. As a place of connectivity for students across campus and the surrounding community, it was important to the University of Iowa that the building create a welcoming, comfortable environment that would resonate with all building users through inclusive design. The BNIM team worked with the University of Iowa, student groups, and an accessibility consultant to implement design strategies informed by ADA guidelines and focused on inclusive, human-purposed design that enhances mobility, accessibility, and wayfinding.