The University of Iowa West Campus Transportation Center, or WCTC is a hub for travelers and students headed to two of Iowa City’s most treasured locations: the U of I Hospitals and Clinics, and the home of Hawkeye Football, Kinnick Stadium. The WCTC is connected to both facilities via skywalks, and it provides safe travel options for patients, students, and fans alike.


The creative, randomized design for the exterior made this project visually and strategically interesting for us to work on. On this project, MDSI also tackled Interior Soffit, Exterior Framing to bump out the exterior 12 inches, and an Exposed Fastened Rainscreen System.

We used both ACM and high density fiber cement panels, and designed support systems for each of the materials and applications on this project. This made engineering a significant part of our efforts.


To make the unique tiled design of this exterior possible, MDSI had some equally unique structural and logistical challenges. The high density 8mm fiber cement panels used for this project are heavier than ACM panels, and require a sturdy sub-framing. MDSI designed a structure to address this extra weight and collaborated with outside engineering to ensure it would bear the load. The randomized pattern of these panels made precision absolutely essential for the sub-framing. MDSI provided extensive, detailed drawings and communicated with our installer and other subcontractor trades to make sure that the sub-framing would match the final panel locations.

We also created a suspension system for our own Series 72 panel system for the interior ceiling. This included three hinged ACM ceiling access panels with locking mechanisms. The interior included some high density fiber cement panels as well, which were adhered directly to the substrate without fasteners.

Because the high density fiber cement panels were made to order in Europe, we scheduled extra time in the mockup process to make sure the customer was satisfied with the material colors. Confirming this with an in-person mockup prevented us from having longer delays down the line, so we could order the panels for install with confidence.

This project (completed in 2015) was one of the first times we used high density fiber cement panels, so we learned a lot about fiber cement, cross-continental logistics, and installation requirements. We are proud to have learned these lessons along the way, while achieving the architect’s vision for this project!

Project details

  • // Number of Panels: 2200
  • // Square Feet of Material: 25250
  • // MDSi System(s) Used: Series 20; Series 72; Exposed Fastened Rainscreen Swiss Pearl
  • // Color(s) Used: Alpolic 4mm PE Core MICA MZG GREY, 8MM High Density Fiber Cement
  • // Year Completed: 2016
  • // Location: Iowa City, IA

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