A groundbreaking ceremony will be held today for the University of Iowa’s newest building — the School of Art and Art History. Speakers will include Governor Tom Vilsack, U-of-I Interim President “Sandy” Boyd and Dorothy Johnson, director of the School of Art and Art History.The new building will house classrooms, studios, the new Art Library, gallery space and both faculty and administrative offices. The 65-thousand square foot building will be three stories tall, with an exterior of steel and glass. Johnson says the new three-story structure is urgently needed as the current building dates to the 1930s. She says the new building will be both functional and very beautiful.The building is expected to cost 21-and-a-half million dollars, of which about 16-million comes from the state and more than five million will come from gifts to the project through the University of Iowa Foundation. Steven Holl Architects of New York is designing the new building. Holl was featured as “America’s Best” architect in a July 2001 issue of Time magazine.Johnson says the design was inspired by Picasso’s 1913 “Sculpted Guitar” and will feature a cantilevered wing over a pond from a semi-circular base. Today’s 1:30 P-M groundbreaking will be held at the site of the new building, just west of the existing Art Building on Riverside Drive. It should be complete in the summer of 2005.
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