Voxman Music Building at University of Iowa

Iowa City, IA

This new facility is centrally located in downtown Iowa City and reunites the school of music under one roof since floodwaters irreparably damaged its previous home along the Iowa River in 2008. Jaffe Holden provided acoustic and audio/video systems design services for this project.

Since the building is in an urban environment, sound isolation was an important focus of our firm. After conducting acoustic tests on site and in our acoustic laboratory, we provided the client with a matrix of acceptable types of acoustic glass and windows to help with sound isolation. We focused on eliminating sound transmission between vertically-stacked practice and rehearsal rooms so that spaces can be used simultaneously.

Our team developed a variety of custom acoustic treatments to ensure the concert hall can accommodate all types of music ensembles. The entire stage floor acts as a resonator to improve bass response, and adjustable acoustic banners can be deployed to control sound during amplified performances. A pipe organ was replaced with a new tracker instrument, so our team designed an overhead canopy to allow the organ to be experienced both visually and aurally. A complex series of openings are sized and placed to provide a perfect mix of early reflections that also allow low frequency sound to pass through and resonate in upper sections of the room. Our AV team designed a complete music reinforcement loudspeaker system to ensure all seats have proper coverage.

The recital hall is situated along Burlington Street with a full height window wall on one side. To balance the sharp spectral reflections off the glass, Jaffe Holden designed a series of unique diffusion surfaces on adjacent walls. A special computer model was used to analyze all possible shapes to find the best diffusion materials.Both the rehearsal and performance spaces are wired back to the recording control suite where operations can be monitored and recorded for archival and broadcast use.

Project Information

189,000 GSF
700-seat Concert Hall
200-seat Recital Hall
Organ Recital Hall
Rehearsal Rooms
Percussion Studio and Recording Studios
Electronic Music Studios
Faculty Studios and Classrooms


$112 Million

Design Team

Architect: LMN
Architect of Record: Neumann Monson
Theater Consultant: Fisher Dachs Associates

Scope of Work

Room Acoustic Design
Building Sound Isolation
Building Systems Noise and Vibration Control
Audio/Video System Design


University of Iowa

Completion Date


LEED Rating