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ICon Arts Academy

ICon Arts Academy, a new performing arts boarding high school in Iowa City, will provide intensive arts education in dance, theatre arts, music, design, and production. Students will receive interdisciplinary instruction from working artists as well as instruction in core academics from local Iowa City high schools. 

After considering new construction, the arts organization found a historic building in need of renovation situated in the vibrant and artistic Northside neighborhood. The location is close to the established arts scene in downtown and will provide an optimal space to inspire future artists. 

The historic structure presented an opportunity to showcase the original art and craft that went into its construction while harmonizing with new materials and technologies. Exposed brick, steel, and wood will provide a sensory combination of natural textures. Wayfinding supergraphics will add a pop of color and LED lighting will be integrated throughout.
The design team addressed two main challenges: organization and structure. Commons spaces and performance rooms on the first floor have been thoughtfully arranged for optimal adjacencies. On the first floor, quiet classrooms for art and theater instruction are located on the north side of the building under existing office space while the noisier music and dance studios are located in the one-story volume to the south. The dance studio was strategically positioned to allow wide open spans to be implemented without significantly altering the structure of the building. Music rooms have been shaped in a trapezoidal layout to optimize sound reflection and outfitted with acoustical treatments. In the basement, a costume shop and storage space round out the program. 

The school will welcome its first class of students this fall.

Project Type: Education

Location: Iowa City, Iowa

Size: 17,500 sf

Est. Completion: August 2023

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