The University of Iowa has opened its newest and largest residence hall on campus. The Elizabeth Catlett Residence Hall is a 12-story, 303,000 sq. ft. building that houses about 1,049 students. The unique design incorporates three nine-story residential towers built atop a single three-story base structure overlooking the Iowa River. The structure was built along a stretch of the Iowa River that saw severe flooding in 2008, the design ensured that the lowest occupied level be built two feet above the 500-year flood level in preparedness for future flooding. The base building houses a dining hall, residence life functions, and building services spaces. The addition of the new residential space will supply much-needed capacity, and complement the University’s expanding Living Learning Communities program.
The dorm was named after Elizabeth Catlett, an African American sculptor and printmaker who studied at the University of Iowa under Grant Wood. She graduated with a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1940. Her artwork often includes women, mothers and children and icons of African American culture and empowerment. The building incorporates some of Catlett’s artwork as well as other work, such as a glass mural by Roberto Delgado.