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Annette Hacker, director,
(515) 294-3720

Office: (515) 294-4777



Mark Engelbrecht, Dean, College of Design, (515) 294-7427

Jenni Cushman, ISU Foundation, (515) 294-6984

Heather Sauer, College of Design communications, (515) 294-9289

Teddi Barron, News Service, (515) 294-4778

ISU alumni give $1 million to College of Design for building addition

AMES, Iowa--A $1 million gift from Steven and Barbara King of Maple Plain, Minn., will help fund construction of a building addition and establish the King Laboratory for Sustainable Design Practice in the College of Design at Iowa State University. This is the largest outright gift ever given to ISU's design college.

"It is important to be willing to support those things that you think are important, and be willing to give back to those who have given you opportunities in your life," Barbara King said. "Steve and I met at Iowa State, and it's a very integral part of who we are and what we do. To be able to give back to Iowa State is very appropriate."

The Kings both graduated from Iowa State in 1968; Steven received a bachelor of landscape architecture degree, and Barbara received a bachelor's degree in food science. In 1971 they founded Landscape Structures, Inc., an innovative children's play equipment company based in Delano, Minn. As a leader in sustainable design practices, the company develops products using recycled or reclaimed industrial and post-consumer waste, and was among the first to achieve industry certification for its environmental management system.

"The Kings' gift will both promote the building of an important new facility and enhance an ongoing scholarly focus for our college," said Mark Engelbrecht, dean of design. "Sustainable design practice has emerged as an important issue within all disciplines of our college, and this project will provide the means to amplify this important field of study."

The 22,000-gross-square-foot pavilion addition will encompass studio classrooms, faculty offices, workshops and review spaces to accommodate the core design courses offered to first-year College of Design students and introductory studio classes in each of the college's four departments. The pavilion, to be designed using the latest "green" building materials and techniques, will provide a central location for all design programs and create a unique opportunity for interaction and collaboration.

"We believe a university should lead and not follow, and today some of the best innovations are the 'green' concepts," Steven King said.

A growing industry trend, green design conforms to environmentally sound principles of building, material and energy use. A green building, for example, may be oriented on the site to take advantage of naturally occurring features such as wind direction and available natural light. It may incorporate well-insulated windows, doors and walls to reduce energy loss and use low-impact (nontoxic, renewable and/or recycled) materials. Good green design also reduces the amount of waste generated, both during construction and after the building is occupied.

The College of Design will also strive to make the addition sustainable--delivering the best performance for the least social, environmental and economic cost.

The King Laboratory for Sustainable Design Practice will provide for the ongoing study of sustainable environmental systems using the building addition as a learning medium.

"This laboratory will not be a fixed space, but rather a vehicle for exploration of sustainable design issues through the yearly work of a collaborative senior-level studio," Engelbrecht said.

The college plans to raise $3.25 million in private support. With the Kings' gift and additional alumni contributions, the college is more than half way toward reaching this private fund-raising goal.

The Kings' gift was made through the Iowa State University Foundation--a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to securing and managing private gift support for Iowa State University.


Steven and Barbara King

Steven and Barbara King

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Quick look

Steven and Barbara King's $1 million gift will help fund an addition to the College of Design that will encompass studio classrooms, faculty offices, workshops and review spaces, including the King Laboratory for Sustainable Design Practice. Their gift is the largest ever to the design college.


"It is important to be willing to support those things that you think are important, and be willing to give back to those who have given you opportunities in your life."

Barbara King