Designed to be a student-centric building, the Business Instructional Facility has spaces for instruction, meeting, studying and relaxing. At the heart of the building is the Commons, the main assembly for the College of Business. Surrounded by instructional spaces, this grand sunlight space promotes chance meetings of students and faculty. Wood finishes create a warm, welcoming environment.
Teaching spaces range from the 300-seat Deloitte Auditorium for lectures to three specialized laboratories for hands-on learning. The Margolis Markets Information Lab is equipped with multi-screen stations, similar to those used in financial markets. The smaller Infinium Capital Management Trading Room simulates a business environment with time-delayed financial information from Reuters, Bloomberg, and other key sources. In addition, a computer lab accommodates up to 16 students for self-directed learning. There are 19 flat and tiered classrooms with seating areas and breakout rooms nearby for group study and team projects. In addition to teaching spaces, the building includes administrative and faculty offices.
The building provides a distinct and professional image for the College of Business, adding a sympathetic and contemporary flavor to the campus’s rich fabric of Georgian architecture. The four-story building is composed of brick and sloped-roofed classroom wings forming a u-shape that opens to the south, encircling the central Commons and garden courtyard. The auditorium wing, south stair tower, north entrance and east entrance, each clad in limestone, complete the composition. The building’s five distinct roofs, with zinc-clad overhangs and inset attic stories, extend outward to the surrounding prairie. Interior day-lighting strategies helped determine the type of windows used on the brick façades. There are punched windows like those found on the Georgian buildings, as well more contemporary clerestory windows for maximum sunlight. Casement windows provide fresh air ventilation, while triple glazing and increased insulation contribute to energy efficiency.
Rated LEED Platinum, the building’s primary sustainable design strategies includes two green roof areas, a photovoltaic array on the auditorium roof, high efficiency air handling, and a high-performance building envelope. The project offered an opportunity to showcase several innovative sustainable design solutions. For example, the exterior of the building contains 4,000 square feet of solar panels that produce approximately 8 percent of the building’s total electricity. The highly visible integration of these technologies is a statement of the University’s forward-thinking approach to campus buildings.
Additional energy-saving features include automatic light dimmers that detect ambient light from outside and adjust accordingly to reduce power consumption. In addition, motion sensors turn lights off in empty rooms. Overall, the facility is expected to use 42 percent less energy than similar campus buildings. The building includes several water-saving features, starting with its landscaping. The courtyard is planted with low-maintenance prairie grasses and wildflowers native to central Illinois. Courtyard and roof plantings were chosen for their ability to thrive without irrigation or fertilizer. Materials were also selected for their energy-conserving properties and durability. High quality finishes such as terrazzo and linoleum flooring have low embodied energy – that is, they require less energy to manufacture and supply to the point of use. The roofing is zinc, which lasts for 100 years or more and reflects heat away from the building, thus reducing the need for air conditioning. Long-lasting end-grain wood flooring was used in the Commons. The building offers high levels of occupant comfort. For indoor air quality, filtered, humidity controlled, low-velocity air is delivered at an ambient temperature throughout the year.