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Teaching on the cutting edge of design

University Buildings

Teaching on the cutting edge of design

University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign Campus Instructional Facility will celebrate and foster creativity and interdisciplinary cooperation.

By Jonathan Barnes, Contributing Editor | April 24, 2019

The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign's new centrally located SOM facility will celebrate and enhance connections between engineering and construction. That focus, and the open-learning approach of the structure which will be completed in 2021, relect changes in the AEC industry. All renderings: Smilodon

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Chancellor Robert Jones and local academic and civic leaders recently broke ground on a new Campus Instructional Facility that is meant to celebrate the cooperation between architecture and engineering.

The structure celebrates how architecture and engineering work together and is meant to enhance such collaboration. Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM), the building will have flexible, open spaces for learning. It also will include collaboration spaces that will be flexible enough to meet the evolving needs of the university community.


See Also: Curtin University library redevelopment will modernize iconic campus structure


“The design of the Campus Instructional Facility blends the rich history of the University of Illinois with its progressive, technology-focused approach to learning. In designing the building, we sought to celebrate the intersection of architecture and engineering, while creating an environment where experimentation and invention could thrive,” says Brian Lee, Design Partner.

Situated adjacent to the main engineering quadrangle at Springfield Avenue and West Wright Street, the building will be used for contemporary teaching and learning, with a variety of types of spaces designed to enhance collaboration between students and faculty. Additionally, this focus is meant to encourage and develop new hands-on learning technologies.



“The Campus Instructional Facility Project will ensure that we continue to create learning environments that inspire collaboration and interactive education for our students. We believe this facility will be a catalyst for innovation and creativity,” says Chancellor Robert Jones.

The 122,000-square-foot, four-story building will have spaces for lecture, classroom, collaboration, social environments, and for other uses. A central spine in the building brings together its public spaces and enables views across all floors as well as views of the engineering quadrangle. A 60-foot long-span space with flexible partitions will allow large class configurations; classrooms will be distributed along the building’s core. A 500-seat auditorium will be in the basement. The building’s 23 active learning and traditional classrooms will range in size, from small spaces for as few as 24 students, to the large auditorium



The building is scheduled to be completed in 2021. It’s state-of-the-art approach to learning reflects the dynamic nature of technological and organizational change in the architecture, engineering, and construction industry. Tech tools are bringing various disciplines together, creating smarter projects.

“SOM was built on the importance of collaboration between architects and engineers, and that spirit continues to be championed today. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to create a home for interdisciplinary learning and have an impact on the education of future students,” says William F. Baker, Structural Engineering Partner, and University of Illinois Engineering alumnus.

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