Substance Architecture

University of Iowa Melrose Avenue Parking Facility

Iowa City, Iowa

The Melrose Parking Ramp and Expansion was designed for a complex portion of the University of Iowa west campus, between 1994, when planning for the original ramp started, and 2004, when construction on the addition begun. The project addresses diverse challenges, functioning as three independent parking facilities, as well as incorporating other compatible functions: ambulance storage, protected pedestrian circulation, and medical records storage.

The exterior treatment of the facility was perforated stainless steel panels in the original, and the palette has been expanded for the addition. The south façade was designed to screen a view of the cars, the headlights at night, and the interior ramp lights. The louvered terra cotta skin accomplishes these desires while allowing views out of the ramp as well as ventilation of the structure.

A protected pedestrian circulation space has been created between the original ramp and the addition. These paths organize the experience of this huge structure, but allow for the visitors to orient themselves by landmarks: stairs, elevators with glazed hoistways, bridges, and lighting structures.

Firm of Record is Herbert Lewis Kruse Blunck
Photography by Paul Crosby Architectural Photography


Merit Award (Phase 2), 2009
AIA Central States Region

Honor Award (Phase 1), 1998
AIA Iowa

Honor Award (Phase 1), 1998
Metal Construction Association


Architecture, February 2001
Iowa Architect, 99:228

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