Dental Science Building

Dental Science Building

Dental Sciences Building

What You'll Find Here

  • College of Dentistry
  • Dental clinics
  • Dows Institute for Dental Research
  • The Filling Station
  • Classrooms, faculty offices, and laboratories


801 Newton Road
Formal Name: 
Dental Science Building
Smith, Hinchman and Gryls, Detroit, Michigan / George Horner, University of Iowa

During President Willard L. Boyd’s administration (1969–1981), the University of Iowa fully embraced contemporary design, leaving a progressive legacy of campus architecture particularly on the Medical Campus. The Dental Science Building, home to the College of Dentistry, is the latest of three structures erected specifically for this pro- gram, which was founded as the Department of Dentistry in 1882. Old Dental Building (1895), a Second Empire style building on the Pentacrest (razed in 1975), was the first designed expressly for dentistry, while the Beaux-Arts–inspired Trowbridge Hall (1917) housed the program until the current building was completed in 1973. A radical departure from the historicism of those earlier designs, the Dental Science Building is the most single-mindedly Brutalist building on the UI campus. Raw concrete, with traces of wooden forms still evident on the surfaces, conveys an austere aesthetic.

Sited on a sloping topography of grassy lawns and stands of pine trees, architecture and nature reside in juxtaposition at Dental Science. Approached from the north or south, the building presents a fortresslike ensemble of abstract forms, which house air vents and other utilities. Seen from the east or west, however, the building opens up, its broad axial approach revealing a bisected plane joined at the fourth floor by a two-story glass bridge. The north side is devoted to classrooms, administration, and research and the south to clinical activities and laboratories. Broad stairs, spanning nearly the entire space between the wings, lead under the bridge and up to the parking area to the west. In the walk along the axis of this courtyard, the glass curtain walls of the wings are visible, as are the more human-scaled inner sides of the building. The courtyard also affords views of the surrounding landscape to faculty, students, and staff working inside. Pedestrians taking this path from the west parking area toward General Hospital witness monumental pavilions on both sides and a view of the campus beyond.


This four-story building is accessible to persons with disabilities. It is built in the shape of an H with a pedestrian link joining the two wings of the building.

The building is entered from the west via a ramp to the center of the building or by entering the south wing using the entrance located on the northwest corner. Both access points are equipped with a power door opener. The ramp entrance provides access to the second level of the pedestrian link which joins the north and south wings. The center of the link is also accessible from the east at the ground level.
Accessible parking for patients and visitors is located directly west of the building. There is a convenient drop-off area with a covered walkway located near the south wing northwest entrance door.
Accessible restrooms for each sex are located on the second level at the south end of the pedestrian link.
Accessible elevators are located at each end of the link and inside the south wing northwest entrance vestibule.