2013 Architizer A+ Awards

The 2013 Architizer A+ Awards went live today and public voting is now open.  A project that we’ve been working on extensively, the University of Iowa School of Music Suspended Theatroacoustic System (we might have to trademark that name) is a finalist in the Architecture+Fabrication, Architecture+Modeling, and Architecture+Sound categories.  Our submission materials are shown below.  We’ll be posting more information about this project at a later date but for now head over to Architizer, check out the competition and vote for us in all the categories.  Thanks


The new School of Music at the University of Iowa will sit at a central intersection in the downtown core of Iowa City. The Concert Hall, the project’s prime performance venue, is front-and-center amidst a 6-floor architectural composition. This 700-seat hall contains a highly complex and intricately laced suspended theatroacoustic system, designed and coordinated in close collaboration with several specialists and builders.  The main goal of the system is to unify many disparate acoustic and theatrical systems within a new, high-performance system.

The design criteria—both acoustically and systematically—are complex, interdependent, and often conflicting. Materially, the system is designed to do the extraordinary with the ordinary, using composite aluminum panel in a unique specialty application. From the initial concept stage, a nimble and robust parametric model became the central generative tool, enabling coordination among disciplines to a level of precision never before possible.

Engineers in acoustics, structures, material science, theatrical systems, lighting design, mechanical design, audio/visual design and fire protection were looped into a complex orchestration of coordinating and validating progressive design iterations.  As each input was accommodated and synthesized, the digital model was redistributed to the group in a variety of formats for analysis and validation. Construction managers and fabricators gave critical feedback affecting system detailing, componentry, and construction sequencing.

While the optimization of all systems and drivers was paramount to the initial goal of coordination, the agility of our parametric tools further engaged the architects in producing direct-to-fabrication data for construction. The design team used a 3-axis CNC mill to fabricate prototypes of full-scale components and connections for testing.  This unique level of interaction with the tools and materials gave critical feedback for system detailing and construction sequencing. Ultimately, the fabrication data for each of the 946 unique panels is generated by this primary model.