UIUC Business Instructional Facility
University of Illinois, PSA Dewberry, Pelli Clarke Pelli
The Business Instructional Facility is a new multi-purpose facility for the College of Business at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The facility will contain classrooms, offices, support spaces, and other program areas, and is organized around a three-story indoor “commons.”
The commons is defined by the building on three sides while the fourth side is a glass curtain wall connecting the commons visually to a landscaped courtyard. The courtyard is defined on three sides by the building, and the commons and courtyard together form a continuous indoor – outdoor space. The courtyard is organized by paving strips extending the geometry of the building and reinforcing the relationship between architecture and landscape.
A linear fountain runs from one end of the courtyard to the other in a raised trough filled with river cobbles. A closely spaced row of columnar trees reinforces the linear quality of the landscape design, and also provides shading on the western façade of the building on the courtyard. A lawn area provides space for informal seasonal seating, and an adjacent area planted with native prairie plants provides a link to the pre-settlement landscape of the area, seasonal interest, and a path for surface drainage to an adjacent low area planted as a sedge meadow natural area that provides on-site stormwater retention. The courtyard is focused on three specimen multi-stem trees that again recall the native landscape. A variety of sizes and kinds of seating areas are provided to facilitate discussions amongst the small groups that are a feature of the Business School’s curriculum.
Achieving LEED Platinum certification, the landscape contributed to a number of credits through the use of native plants, on-site stormwater retention, green roofs, and no potable water use. WLA was the landscape architect and a consultant to PSA Dewberry of Peoria, Illinois, the architect of record. Pelli Clarke Pelli of New York was the design architect. Completed on time and on budget in August 2008, the project received an Illinois Chapter American Society of Landscape Architects Merit Award in 2009.