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When Science Meets Architecture, Strange Things Happen

Back in 1970, our College of Medicine at the University of Iowa was growing rapidly and space was desperately needed. But the dean (and the president) didn’t want just any ordinary science building, so they engaged a nationally known architectural firm in Chicago to design it. The Chicago architects were enthusiastic. Why wouldn’t they be? They’d designed some impressive structures, but they had never designed a science building before. Fortunately, we, the faculty, did not

George Kalnitsky

Back in 1970, our College of Medicine at the University of Iowa was growing rapidly and space was desperately needed. But the dean (and the president) didn’t want just any ordinary science building, so they engaged a nationally known architectural firm in Chicago to design it. The Chicago architects were enthusiastic. Why wouldn’t they be? They’d designed some impressive structures, but they had never designed a science building before.

Fortunately, we, the faculty, did not know this. Boy, were we ever excited about the project. Almost immediately, we started drawing up lists and ideas of what we would need in our new quarters. And just at this time, by happy coincidence, a symposium was held at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society on the subject of new chemistry buildings. A number of faculty members from our biochemistry department attended, and we listened to speakers from four campuses describe...

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