Newton Road Ramp

Newton Road Ramp

Newton Road Ramp
Abbreviation: 
NRP
Number: 
0443
Address: 
360 Newton Road
Formal Name: 
Newton Road Parking and Chilled Water Facility
Year: 
2000
Architect: 
HLKB Architecture, Des Moines, Iowa
Historical: 

The Newton Road Parking Ramp was designed as part of a master plan intended to increase vehicular access to the expanding Medical Campus. The ramp project created 810 new parking spaces and an associated walkway that shields pedestrians from Newton Road. Foot traffic access is also accommodated by a pedestrian bridge leading to the current International Center and future site of the College of Public Health. The bridge, which crosses over an urban highway and a railroad line, extends the Medical Campus northward and adjacent to the Arts Campus. The multi-use parking ramp structure also includes a chilled water plant serving both the Medical and Arts Campuses.
The parking ramp’s design reflects both its function and location. The use of industrial materials supports the structure’s utilitarian aesthetic, though they are tailored to suit both the academic and residential areas bordering the ramp. Translucent and clear glass express different functions—the translucent panels along the walkway shield the campus from the ramp’s cars, while the clear glass signals points of entry and vertical circulation. Clear glass is also used in a band along the walkway, allowing pedestrians a view of campus. The delicate crystalline volumes of the enclosed stairwell/elevator units at each end of the structure lend it an elegance unusual for a parking facility. On the highway side of the ramp, perforated copper cladding provides a neutral façade that blends in scale with the adjacent Westlawn. The metal panels also conceal cars and their headlights from the residential neighborhood across the highway. The tapered cooling towers, which are rendered in naturally finished precast concrete, help to alleviate the long uniform sweep of the structure’s highway façade. The Newton Road Parking Ramp received a 2002 American Institute of Architects Honor Award for its creative design and was a contributing factor to HLKB’s distinction as AIA national firm of the year in 2002.