University of Iowa, Hancher Auditorium

Iowa City, Iowa, USA

In 2008, when a flood destroyed 13 university buildings including the original Hancher Auditorium, the university reached out to Theatre Projects to help them plan for replacement facilities. Following a series of studies, we worked with the design team to help create a new and better facility, and restore Hancher Auditorium as a cultural focal point of the region. The new facility features a versatile multipurpose theatre, greatly expanded and rearranged support spaces, a three-story lobby, café, and terrace. Motorized lifts, mechanically assisted seating boxes, a demountable orchestra shell with designated storage space—these and many other features make the venue easier to use, more accommodating, and help the users manage student and touring performers. The 192,000 square foot building provides the school with a state-of-the-art venue featuring 700 fewer seats than its predecessor—creating an intimate and engrossing performance space for performing arts students and touring groups alike.

University of Iowa, Hancher Auditorium
Credit: Jeff Goldberg/Esto
Credit: Bill Adams
Credit: Jeff Goldberg/Esto

University of Iowa


Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects | OPN Architects


Kirkegaard Associates


School of Music, Department of Dance, Department of Theatre Arts

Seat count


Construction type

New construction

Theatre type

Educational, Dance theatre, Drama theatre, Multipurpose theatre


Masterplanning including assessment of damage and advice on recovery steps, recovery/mitigation options, and replacement options,programming, concept design, theatre planning, and theatre equipment design and specification



Venue website

University of Iowa, Hancher Auditorium
Credit: Bill Adams

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