The Daily Iowan

Design, safety contribute to Harrison Street Parking Facility award

Constructed in 2017, the Harrison Street parking facility has received a design award for its attention to detail and collaboration between different groups.

The+Harrison+Street+Parking+Ramp+is+seen+on+Tuesday%2C+October+9%2C+2018.
The Harrison Street Parking Ramp is seen on Tuesday, October 9, 2018.

The Harrison Street Parking Ramp is seen on Tuesday, October 9, 2018.

Wyatt Dlouhy

Wyatt Dlouhy

The Harrison Street Parking Ramp is seen on Tuesday, October 9, 2018.

Charles Peckman, News Reporter

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Surrounded by MidWestOne Bank and residential units, the parking facility located at 175 E. Harrison St. has been honored with an Honorable Mention for Excellence in Design Award from the American Institute of Architects Iowa Chapter.

It is one of seven buildings to be honored out of the more than 70 that applied.

The facility, which was completed in 2017, contains 600 parking spaces and has 28 residential condominium units surrounding it. These elements, along with the aesthetics of the building, all contributed to the award. It also is equipped with two electric vehicle-charging stations.

“The project highlights architects’ potential as active teammates in the community, navigating complex processes, and facilitating multi-stakeholder consensus,” a press release from the architects’ group said. “Its realization relied on close collaboration with the contractor and the city, among other entities.”

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Neumann Monson Architects designed the facility,  and project architect Nick Lindsley said the project was a collaboration among Iowa City, the University of Iowa, and private businesses such as MidWestOne Bank.

“Basically, MidWestOne occupied the site where the School of Music is now,” Lindsley said. “They agreed to give it up when they reached a deal with the university. When they moved to their new building on Clinton Street, they knew that they needed a parking facility that could be used by not only their staff but the rest of Iowa City, as well.”

Lindsley said the usual considerations were taken into account when designing and constructing the facility, but he noted that Neumann Monson wanted to incorporate modern elements as well, including perforated aluminum panels that filter out headlights without impeding air flow.

“With any parking ramp, typically the majority of the structure is concrete,” he said. “We focused on screening elements for this project that allow it to be aesthetically pleasing but structurally sound as well.”

Aside from the construction of the facility, he said another important factor was the implementation of safety throughout the Harrison Street ramp. He said the elements include glass-encased staircases, which give police a clear image of what is happening in the garage.

Iowa City operations supervisor Terry Anderson said there is a large need for parking in the Iowa City area, but many of the current facilities are more than 25 years old and lack modern design elements.

“Because there is no place for people to park, there’s definitely a need for parking,” Anderson said. “I was made aware of the award, and, speaking in all practicality, things like lighting and street visibility — in this day and age — are important aspects to a parking facility.”

Anderson said the Harrison Street facility melds aesthetic and structural elements in a way that hasn’t been seen in Iowa City.

“The fact that [parking facilities] can be built with design and architecture in mind is great,” Anderson said. “I mean, there are apartment complexes wrapped around the garage, and driving down Prentiss Street, you don’t even realize that it’s there.”

Looking at the project from a holistic perspective, Anderson said he’s glad the architectural climate in Iowa City accepts unique projects.

“I think it’s quite creative, to be quite honest,” he said. “That you can have unique elements in a facility, and it can also be a safe place for people to park.”

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About the Writer
Charles Peckman, News Reporter

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @charlespeckman

Currently, Charles is a digital producer and news reporter. Previously, Charles has served as the news editor, general assignment reporter, and sustainability reporter. Charles is working towards a bachelor’s in journalism/mass communication, a certificate in entrepreneurial management, and a minor in German.

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