BBS Architects Engineers

Science Center of Iowa

Architectural Design Services: Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Partnership
Engineering Design Services: BBS Architects | Engineers
Project Data: 110,000 SF 
Construction Cost: $24,000,000 
Construction Completed: 2005

With a clear vision to “engage and inspire,” the Science Center of Iowa embarked on a process to provide a one-of-a-kind experience for children and adults. This vision and a well articulated pre-design programming process set the stage for the design team to create a facility for informal science learning. A downtown site in the heart of a rapidly developing entertainment/ residential/retail district provides a highly visible, easily accessible destination. The main building entrance is on axis with a downtown street and is further enhanced by a historic arched structural bridge frame over the street.

The entry experience is structured to inform visitors as they gradually proceed from ticketing and orientation to experience platforms. While individually selecting a desired exhibit experience, the visitors learn the concept that science is all around us and that science is something we can do every day. The exhibit environments have themes which include; Small Discoveries, Who Are We, When Things Get Moving, Why the Sky, and What on Earth.

The shape of the architecture was chosen to communicate the informal nature of the learning found within. A high sweeping curvilinear ceiling caps the lobby space and expresses the dynamic feeling of discovery. Two theaters, a large format film theater and a star theater are enclosed in metal clad cylindrical volumes and are clearly expressed on the outside. Exterior materials of terra cotta and brick are opened up in critical locations by glass curtainwall, for daylighting and full visibility of the retail, café, educational, and office spaces.

BBS provided structural, electrical, mechanical, plumbing engineering, and construction administration services to the team led by the Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Partnership.

Goodnow Hall Restoration & Renovation
MacKay Hall Auditorium Renovation
Corporate Headquarters
Arizona Farm Bureau Center
Utah Farm Bureau Center
Des Moines Public Market
Union Drive Community Center Renovations
Catholic Pastoral Center Rehabilitation
College of Human Sciences
Covered Walkway
Levitt Center for University Advancement
ETRC Hoover Hall
Hospital Emergency Room Renovation & Expansion
Dodge House Renovations
Beardshear Hall Remodeling
Memorial Union Food Court
Sabin Hall Renovation – LEED Gold
Corporate Highrise
Hub Tower Conference Center
219 Eighth Street
Extension 4-H Youth Building
Kemin Food Sciences Lab Renovation
LeBaron Hall Replacement Study
Hub Tower Elevator Modernization
Wyoming Farm Bureau Center
Camp Dodge Chapel Addition and Renovation
Executive Suites Renovation
Hub Tower Office Tenant Improvement
Iowa Events Center
Camp Dodge Pool Campus Improvements
Common Ground - Coffee Shop
Minnesota Farm Bureau Center
ETRC Howe Hall
Office Renovation
Biological Sciences Facility
Home Office Building with Expansion
IADA Office Renovation
Food Sciences Building - Room 2379 Renovation
Coover Hall Infrastructure Study
Chemistry Building Addition & Renovation
Lance and Ellie's Sandwich Shop
ABC - Office Build-Out
New Office
Corporate Headquarters Renovation
Parking Garage
Iowa City Federal Building - VHA Renovations
Reid “E” Research Facility
VRAC C6 and Office Suite
© 2023 BBS Architects | engineers, All rights reserved.