Business Instructional Facility University of Illinois

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Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, USA
162,000 square feet / 15,000 square meters

The Business Instructional Facility is a state-of-the-art home for the College of Business, containing the vast majority of the business school’s classrooms and student services. Contemporary in spirit yet sympathetic to earlier campus architecture, the building provides a professional image for the school. As the first building for business education to attain LEED Platinum at a public university, the Business Instructional Facility emphasizes sustainable design.

The building’s major components — two classroom wings, a four-story glass-fronted atrium known as the Commons, and a limestone-clad auditorium wing — are arranged around a garden courtyard. The two classroom wings are clad in brick and have punched windows like the university’s Georgian Revival buildings from the 1920s. Sloping zinc roofs and metal accents define the contemporary design.

Glass is used selectively throughout the building, strategically placed to give the perception of more glazing. In the auditorium, windows are at eye level. In the classroom wings, clerestory windows provide additional daylight and casement windows allow ventilation.

The Commons is a grand sun-lit gathering space at the heart of the building. End-grain oak flooring and certified sustainable oak-paneled walls and slatted ceilings give the room a warm glow. Surrounded by instructional spaces, the room promotes chance meetings of students and faculty. The variety of instructional spaces around the Commons reflects the methods used in contemporary business education: 18 flat and tiered classrooms for lectures and seminars, a 300-seat auditorium for guest speakers from the business world, a mock trading lab for hands-on learning, and 36breakout rooms for team projects.

Energy efficiency and indoor air quality are the building’s primary sustainable design achievements. The building includes two green roof areas to reduce water run-off and keep the rooftop cool, a photovoltaic array on the auditorium roof to help power the building, high-efficiency air handling, and a high-performance building envelope. For indoor air quality, the building receives filtered, humidity-controlled air at an ambient temperature year round. Comparing the Business Instructional Facility to a standard University of Illinois building for factors such as cooling, heating, and lighting, the building uses approximately 42 percent less energy.