Voxman Music Building Concert Hall

[Photo: Tim Griffith]

When it comes to energy efficiency, this building is music to our ears. The Voxman Music Building at the University of Iowa elevates green building standards while enhancing acoustics and sound with innovative design techniques. The LEED Gold–certified building, which opened in 2016, features energy-saving elements like active daylighting controls, chilled beams, and a heat recovery system linked to the campus chilled water loop. In addition to researching acoustics and material science, LMN Architects and Neumann Monson PC used digital fabrication and parametric modeling to inform the geometry of their design and test acoustical systems for effectiveness, installation, and durability.

Voxman Music Building Rehearsal Room

[Photo: Tim Griffith]

The six-story, 189,000-square-foot building houses classrooms, studios, a music library, rehearsal rooms, and two major performance venues. Open, welcoming spaces like the communal rooftop terrace encourage collaborative, student-driven learning. The design team incorporated daylighting to maximize comfort and reduce energy use throughout the building. The 200-seat recital hall features a shingled-glass facade that lets in natural light while maintaining acoustic isolation. The shoebox style, 700-seat concert hall has full-height, north-facing windows that let in natural light. The concert hall also includes a sculptural acoustic ceiling system framed by wood-paneled walls—its intricate latticework includes openings for audio speakers, stage-lighting, fire sprinklers, and acoustic clarity.

In the heart of Iowa City, the Voxman Music Building embraces both academic and urban experiences. The design team completed the project with a modest budget on a tight schedule, creating a state-of-the-art facility that unites musicians, artists, and scholars under one roof.

Voxman Music Building Work Space

[Photo: Courtesy of Adam Hunter/LMN Architects]

Parametric Modeling

The creation of a digital model based on a set of pre-programmed rules or parameters. Parametric prototypes are generated automatically by internal logic algorithms, enabling rapid ideation, structural analysis, and precise geometric control.

Suspended Theatroacoustic System

The concert hall consists of more than 900 unique, folded-aluminum composite modules that were digitally designed and fabricated. This ceiling system unifies acoustics, lighting, and safety requirements.

Voxman Music Building Hallway

[Photo: Tim Griffith]

Rehearsal Room “Swarms”

It includes acoustic, kite-like reflectors made from aluminum composite panels and perforated to achieve dynamic acoustical and lighting effects. The team parametrically arranged the reflectors in sculptural swarms on the high ceilings.


The method of placing windows, or other apertures and reflective surfaces, so that natural light offers effective internal lighting during the day, lessening overall energy consumption.

If you want to see more buildings like this, visit our roundup of the most innovative smart buildings.