History on campus: Howe and Hoover Hall

The view down the staircase into the atrium inside Howe Hall.

Jonathan Krueger

The west side of the Iowa State University campus is home to the Engineering Teaching and Research Complex, which consists of Howe and Hoover Halls. The two are connected by the first sky bridge to grace this campus.

The complex is the largest capital project undertaken at Iowa State. Built in two stages, the two halls now house a couple of the engineering departments.

In order for the complex to be built, the Engineering Annex had to be demolished. The old engineering building, which resided where Hoover Hall now stands, was torn down in March of 2000 after Howe Hall’s completion. 

Howe Hall was named after Stanley and Helen Howe and was completed in 1999. It houses the departments of aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics. Located inside Howe Hall is a four-story atrium. The ground floor contains the C-6.

The C-6 is a three-dimensional, fully immersive synthetic environment.  All the walls, the ceiling and the floor of the C-6 are projection screens.  Participants enter the C-6 and are thrust into a virtual reality that is very believable. The C-6 was the first six-sided synthetic immersive environment in the world.

Across the sky bridge is Hoover Hall, named after Gary and Donna Hoover. The hall houses the department of materials science and engineering, as well as the department of engineering computer support services. Located inside of Hoover Hall is the 400-seat Kent-Stein Foundation Auditorium. A great view from Hoover Hall’s vast windows is the overlooking Marston Water Tower.

Howe and Hoover Hall were both the architectural genius of Brooks Borg Skiles. It is rumored he designed the buildings after his fascination with the Titanic. Some even rumor symbols include the bridge linking the two buildings to be the split in the Titanic.

Howe and Hoover hall are some of the newest buildings on campus but will soon be joined by a new agricultural engineering building.