Iowa State University


Site Design for the Ivy College of Business Gerdin Business Building at Iowa State University.


Ames, Iowa

Service Line

Project Highlights

  • Biofiltration
  • Campus gateway
  • Limited space for stormwater management

In 2017 Iowa State University sought a design construction team to expand the Gerdin Business Building for the Ivy College of Business. The University sought to elevate the profile of the Ivy College of Business, in order to enhance the student, faculty, and visitor experience. The selected design team included ECT, Story Construction, and BNIM architects.

Multiple project goals helped shape the building program. The business building is located in the heart of campus, therefore, the expansion needed to integrate seamlessly with the existing buildings and landscape.

As the southern view of the building was a prominent gateway, it was critical to illuminate the nighttime view of the building. With the east entry being a main student thoroughfare to central campus, it was paramount to consider aesthetics.

Another vital aspect of the site design was to keep the new development consistent with the campus character. Careful planning and placement of the new building within the project area resulted in minimal changes to the existing grades. A key bioretention area was placed at the top of the existing slope in order to be visually unobtrusive. The bioinfiltration area was designed to be one foot down from the adjacent grade. This decline will be hidden by a linear stone wall comprised of existing limestone benches that were salvaged at the site.

Runoff from the roof will enter the bioinfiltration area where it will meet with gravel level spreaders at the building edges. These gravel strips will resemble common maintenance edges, but they will spread the flow of water throughout the basin and dissipate its energy. The University will select and install the plantings within the basin. These plantings could include groundcovers, perennial grasses and forbs, shrubs, and trees.

The repurposing and placement of the limestone benches on the lower planter wall will help to bridge the campus character of the previous site with the new development.

A bike parking facility was designed to be constructed at the northeast corner of the building and will host 66 bike racks. The racks and paving will remain with the University’s vision for the campus, with steel bike loops mounted on a concrete base with brick pavers at the surface.