Becker Communication Studies Building

Becker Communication Studies Building

Becker Communication Studies Building

What You'll Find Here

  • Communication Studies Department
  • Cinema and Comparative Literature Department
  • Classrooms and faculty offices


25 South Madison Street
Formal Name: 
Samuel L. Becker Communication Studies Building
Thorson-Brom-Broshar-Snyder, Waterloo, Iowa

Built during the presidency of James O. Freedman (1982–1987), Becker Communication Studies Building was state-of-the-art, from the exterior design to its broadcasting facilities. It was rededicated in 1993 in honor of Samuel L. Becker, distinguished professor emeritus in communication studies.

Becker Communication Studies Building exhibits many of the hallmarks of Late Modernism: shifted-grid plan, stark massing, dark- tinted and mirrored glass, and circular vent openings. The dark glazing of the window walls of the main level on the street front creates the illusion of a red-brick monolith floating on a white concrete band, an effect similar to that on the International style Communications Center just down the street.

Set at a 45-degree angle to the monolithic street-front block, the projecting mirrored auditorium section serves as a transition between two red-brick-clad masses. These large, sharp-edged monochromatic forms are used to create visual interest, but there is also a unique acknowledgment of the adjacent campus setting—the Becker Building’s east-facing mirror-glass windows are angled to provide a reflected view of the gilded lantern dome of Old Capitol; thus, the building’s design reflects its campus context. In the atrium, a Chinese moon gate, curving stair ramps, and oceanliner railings all suggest travel and communication with distant places.


The building is accessible to persons with disabilities. This building is located along the west side of Madison Street just north of the Library.

The main lobby entrances to the building are located on the north and west sides and are accessible. The north entrance includes a power door operator. A secondary accessible entrance is located on the south side just west of the loading dock area.
Two designated accessible parking spaces are located just south of BCSB near the loading dock.
Restrooms are located on each floor and all of them are accessible.
The elevator is located near the main lobby.