Lagoon Shelter House

Lagoon Shelter House

Abbreviation: 
LSHS
Number: 
0060
Address: 
230 North Riverside Drive
Formal Name: 
Lagoon Shelter House
Year: 
1939
Architect: 
George Horner, University of Iowa
Historical: 

A Works Progress Administration project, the Lagoon Shelter House was designed by University architect George Horner. The small riverside structure was sited well north of the then new Theatre Building in an undeveloped area of the Arts Campus adjacent to the University Skating Lagoon. What remains of the depression that once contained the lagoon is still visible in front of the Shelter House. The small interior housed a concession where skaters could buy candy and coffee. Two exterior fireplaces provided warmth for skaters’ hands and feet. In season, floodlights illuminated the lagoon at night, and phonograph music was played on a speaker system for the enjoyment of skaters. During the two seasons the Lagoon Shelter House served its original function (1941), there was an annual ice carnival. Owing to the unpredictability of the weather, the ice skating facility was not cost effective and was converted to a canoe house for the Department of Physical Education. The structure is now informally known as the Canoe House.
Constructed of local limestone and rough-hewn timbers, this picturesque building has a low-slung appeal. It epitomizes the architectural concept of rustication, which here is a chief design feature and in harmony with the originally primitive setting. Exposed wood membering and a shed roof add to the design’s cottagelike hominess; fireplaces provide additional appeal. While underutilized for years, the building has been retained and holds opportunity for a future return to intimate campus social gatherings.