The daffodils bloom, the magnolia buds swell, and the last hints of winter trickle away. This time of year, University of Iowa students, faculty, staff, and visitors find it hard to stay indoors. Fortunately, the UI campus offers plenty of open-air options for gathering or finding solitude, studying or playing, or just savoring the change of season.
Outdoor spaces are integral to the vision of a cohesive, accessible, and simply beautiful University environment—a vision expressed in “The Campus, the Buildings, and the Space Between,” the campus master plan unveiled last year. The plan offers guidelines for growth that maintain the University’s unique identity and minimize impact on neighbors and the environment.
Elements of the plan include an emphasis on natural areas, among them a proposed River Park and the open spaces near Finkbine Golf Course. But the plan also seeks to build on the central campus’s close connection to downtown Iowa City—a vibrant hub for entertainment, cultural events, and people watching.
The University of Iowa campus offers a tour of architectural styles, from neoclassical Pentacrest edifices to modernist designs like the Art Building West. Outdoor spaces unite these buildings, welcoming pedestrians and lingerers, helping the campus harmonize with nature, and providing a sense of place.
The lawns surrounding the iconic Old Capitol. The restful beauty of the Iowa River. The bustle of the T. Anne Cleary Walkway. The meandering paths and stone walls along the west-side bluffs. The campus gardens that soon will flare to life.
Places like these color alumni memories and greet campus newcomers. Every spring brings a new reminder that they’re worth preserving, enhancing, and celebrating.