Phillips Hall

Phillips Hall

Phillips Hall

What You'll Find Here

  • American Sign Language Program
  • Asian and Slavic Languages and Literature Department
  • Center for Diversity and Enrichment
  • Division of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
  • French and Italian Department
  • German Department
  • Language Media Center
  • Russian Department
  • Spanish & Portuguese Department
  • Classrooms and faculty offices


16 North Clinton Street
Formal Name: 
Phillips Hall
Woodburn O’Neil Architects and Engineers, West Des Moines, Iowa

Constructed on the former site of Iowa City’s second Universalist Church building, Phillips Hall was built to house the College of Business Administration. Since its founding in 1921, the then College of Commerce had vastly outstripped the facilities available in its first home, Jessup Hall. The move across Clinton Street provided a more functional facility until growth forced yet another relocation, this time to the newly built John Pappajohn Business Building in 1993. Phillips Hall was named after Chester A. Phillips, the college’s first dean and a leader in the field of money and banking. It now contains foreign language and literature departments within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Campus lore once held that the west façade, with its rows of deeply punched windows, was meant to be a play on the then-common computer punchcards, but this seems to be an idea born of the popular imagination rather than an intended design concept. The building does, however, reference Modernism’s valorization of standardized forms and the machine aesthetic. The windows evoke the sun baffles of Le Corbusier, specifically his Unité d’Habitation in Marseilles (1946–1952). The external grid, with recessed windows, has the practical benefit of protecting the interior from direct sunlight. The design also makes visible a functional separation; classrooms and faculty offices are in the main block, while the large lecture hall is in a single- story wing to the south. Phillips Hall’s location also marks the beginning of the Iowa Avenue Literary Walk, a joint University/Iowa City project designed by Gregg LeFevre and opened in 2001. Forty-nine bronze panels positioned in the sidewalk celebrate, in image and quotation, writers connected to the University or state: Marvin Bell, Frank Conroy, John Irving, Flannery O’Connor, Jane Smiley, Kurt Vonnegut, and Tennessee Williams, among others, can be found in the sidewalk-mounted samples. Many of the authors are graduates or former faculty in the famed Iowa Writers’ Workshop.


The building is accessible to persons with disabilities.

The accessible entrance is located at the north end of the building and is reached via a short ramp. The entrance is equipped with a power door opener.
The nearest identified parking for persons with disabilities is a designated metered space along Iowa Avenue at its intersection with Clinton Street.
An accessible restroom for each sex is located on the first floor of the building near the elevator. The men's restroom is Room 106 and the women's restroom is Room 110.
The elevator is located just off the main hallway near the south end of the building.