Best and Worst Hometown Design: Iowa

Jenny Palmer, IIDA Event and Special Projects Coordinator, is the newest edition to our headquarter’s staff, and our first staff contributor to the Best and Worst Hometown Design blog series, which kicks off today! We are asking you, and our staff members, to contribute your ideas for your own hometown’s best and worst designs. If you would like to contribute email me here, or leave a blog comment below!

Jenny is a native from Muscatine, IA but her choices for best and worst can be found in Des Moines and Iowa City.

One of Jenny’s favorite designs is the annual butter cow! The butter cow is life size and can be found every year at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines. Last year, along with the cow, they featured, what some have fondly called, Dairy Potter.

The butter cow is even sustainable, taken from the Iowa State Fair website, “While a real dairy cow weighs more than 1,000 pounds, a 600-lb. butter cow would butter 19,200 slices of toast and take an average person two lifetimes to consume, according to sponsor Midwest Dairy Association. Much of the butter is recycled and reused for up to 10 years.” According to a friend in Des Moines, this year the fair will also feature a butter sculpture of Olympian Shawn Johnson.

Jenny’s choice for worst design, is not, in her opinion bad, in fact she likes the design, but she feels the design is more so controversial. Jenny chose the art building at her alma mater, the University of Iowa, as her controversial choice.

Jenny says: “When the plans for the art building came out, a lot of people didn’t like it because they thought the modern architecture would be too much of a contrast against the rest of the University’s stone and brick buildings. It was based on Picasso’s Guitar sculpture. The design did win a lot of architecture awards, however, some people still think it is ugly. I feel like it was one of those things you either love it or you hate it.”

Due to the recent, disastrous Iowa flooding that occurred earlier this summer, I do not know what shape the building is currently in. The University of Iowa along with several other Iowa towns, was hit devastatingly hard by the flood. If you would like to contribute or to learn more about how the University plans on rebuilding and rehabbing, click here.

Coming up tomorrow, a trip to Ohio! Please give Jenny your thoughts on her choices by posting a comment below. Does your town have better designs than Iowa? Prove it by commenting below or email me your city’s best or worst designs!


3 responses to “Best and Worst Hometown Design: Iowa

  1. Not only was the new U of I Arts building controversial, but during construction, I was told by a friend who attended classes there, that someone made a mistake when ordering the 8 ton gurders that stabilize the structure…and they had to be sent back, melted down and remade. Could you imagine?!

    PS Don’t quote me on the actual tonnage of the metal.

  2. I do, however, like the building in its setting: Suspended over an old quarry next to the old art buildings and museum. I wish, though, that architects could design both whimsical and modern instead of one or the other. There is nothing about this building that seems all that fun. There is the oxidation factor in the external finishes of the building, but that is not exactly whimsical.

  3. Pingback: Buttering Up Shawn Johnson « IIDA Student Blog

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