Martin C. Jischke Honors Building


Jischke Honors Building, northeast view

Jischke Honors Building, northeast view


Jischke Honors Building, southwest view

Jischke Honors Building, southwest view

The Martin C. Jischke Honors Building is a 9,000 square foot building housing the University Honors Program. Named after our former University president, the main floor is dedicated to student oriented activities and includes two flexible classrooms, a project room, a 12-station computer lab, a resource room/kitchenette and a two-story lounge/meeting area. The 2,000 square foot second floor overlooks the lounge area below and provides administrative offices for the program.

The building was designed by Architects Smith Metzger of Des Moines, Iowa. It is situated near central campus amidst several mature and unique trees, including notable species of Japanese lilacs, hackberry and Chinkapin oak.

Constructed primarily of red brick on a stone base, the building is fashioned in the prairie style with strong horizontal lines emphasized by a low roof and broad overhangs. The interior spaces are naturally lit with high clerestory windows and generous picture windows that embrace southwesterly views of central campus. The two-story lounge serves as a 24-hour-a-day living room for the Honors Program community. Movable versatile furnishings allow for a variety of uses by large or small groups.

The Public Art

Forest Flora by Priscilla K. Sage is a three-dimensional fabric, acrylic and wood sculpture, stitched by hand and machine. The seven individual objects hang from the two story ceiling over the open lounge area and move with the air currents created by the activity in the lounge. A companion sculpture Knoll Garden, also hangs in the building and is on loan from the larger collection of the University Museums' Art on Campus collection.

The Lintel Reception Table and the two lintel side tables were created by Mary Ann Beecher, an Honors Program graduate and former chair of the College of Design Honors Program. Ms. Beecher was commissioned to design the tables in memory of Wendy Sue Bass, former Iowa State University Honors Program secretary who died in 1999. The tables suggest the warmth, friendliness, and integrity embodied in Wendy, and are placed in the reception area as a reminder of Wendy's impact on students and visitors as they entered Osborn Cottage, the former home of the University Honors Building.

The Chinkapin Oak Trees

The Chinkapin oak tree is a native of southeast Iowa and usually grows to a height of 50 feet, with a span of about 50 feet. Both the location and the large size of our two mature Chinkapin oaks makes them quite unique and they are used in plant identification classes by as many as six university departments. The Jishke Honors Building was designed to take advantage of the views of these noble trees on the edge of central campus. It seems fitting that the oak, the symbol of knowledge, plays such an important role in the placement of the Honors Building.