Coralville Intermodal

The Client

The City of Coralville, which takes its name from the fossil-rich limestone along the Iowa River’s banks, anchors the northwest of the greater Iowa City metropolitan area.

Iowa River Landing is a remarkable, 180-acre mixed-use development located on Interstate 80. Public-private and state-local partnerships have allowed the city to transform a brownfield site of truck stops and dilapidated warehouses into a vibrant mixed-use community with convenient interstate access. Perched along the Iowa River, Iowa River Landing is anchored by a hotel and conference center and includes more than 330,000 square feet of retail, office, residential, and entertainment space. It is also the home of The University of Iowa Health Care’s medical clinic.

The Brief

The City of Coralville needed a regional node for commuter parking and bus transportation. The facility would act as an anchor for the University of Iowa hospital bus network, serve as an interchange and transfer point for the city’s transit, and provide a stop for regional express bus service between Omaha and Chicago. In addition to providing a logical geographic location, the City intended the Intermodal Facility to help catalyze the development of a brownfield site along the Iowa River into the vibrant district that Iowa River Landing has become.

The new facility would promote several modes of transportation, increase bus ridership, support convenient earth-friendly transportation, and address connectivity for the “last mile” for those who use a combination of transportation methods. It needed to provide comfortable passenger waiting areas, restrooms, showers, free WiFi, electric car charging stations, LED lighting, storm water planters, and connectivity to an extensive bike trail system.

Where We Started

Our longstanding relationship with the City of Coralville facilitated our role in the project. We contributed to the district’s master plan in 2004 and collaborated with the various developers involved in surrounding properties. From the start, we developed the project with an eye to both the regional and local urban conditions.

The specifics of our particular site were slightly idiosyncratic, with significant north-south and east-west grade changes. Once the facility’s two major components—a parking structure and a bus terminal—had been formulated, the team realized that the challenging topography provided a unique opportunity for vehicular circulation. Cars could access level 3 from the west, level two from the north, and level one from the east. With the basic circulation paths and access points mapped out, we could leverage the efficient layout to best address the urban, pedestrian conditions that Iowa River Landing was working to foster.

Vicinity Map

What We Did

The mass of the parking component is embedded in the hillside with the uppermost level serving as surface parking for the adjacent hotel. Pedestrian-activated elements – vertical circulation and the bus terminal – anchor the street edge to the east. Perforated metal panels veil, shade, and enhance the experience of moving through these spaces. At night, a lantern effect accentuates the panels’ texture. Selective omissions reveal pedestrian activity within. By encouraging views from a variety of vantage points, the design acts as a passive security.

In the parking structure, levels one and two host park and ride functions for area commuters. Level three provides dedicated parking for retail, hotel, and conference center offerings. The eastern portion of the bus terminal contains administrative offices and interfaces with the public through ticketing services, conditioned waiting areas, and the nonprofit Iowa Bike Coalition.


How it Works

By providing an anchor for the regional intermodal transportation network, the project contributes essential momentum for growth of the mixed-use development’s hospitality, conference, healthcare, office, retail, and residential functions. The district’s walkability improves as the retail and service offerings in the district increase. The result is a more vibrant community and a more interconnected, sustainable region. The ‘final product’ is a point of pride for the community.

The Coralville Intermodal furthers the goals set by the Brownfield Revitalization District, which received a regional EPA Phoenix Award in 2007. It adheres to stringent district-wide sustainability requirements. Within the parking structure storm drains are connected to the water quality unit, where a storm water filter absorbs and retains the most challenging pollutants from storm water runoff including suspended solids, hydrocarbons, and metals. Bio cells along the street edge collect storm water runoff from streets and the bus parking area. The bio cells and other landscaped areas are planted with native species, eliminating the need for landscape irrigation.

Durable, self-finishing materials with high recycled content, such as burnished CMU walls and polished concrete floors, obviate the need for ephemeral finishes. The bolted steel structure and decking will facilitate deconstruction at the end of the building’s lifespan. Carpet and high NRC ceiling tiles provide acoustic control. Expansive glazing maximizes daylighting and perforated metal panels diffuse solar penetration where appropriate