Business Instructional Facility

Business Instructional Facility
General information
Type Academics
Location 515 E. Gregory Drive
Champaign, Illinois 61820
United States
Coordinates 40°6′13.33″N 88°13′51.34″W / 40.1037028°N 88.2309278°W / 40.1037028; -88.2309278Coordinates: 40°6′13.33″N 88°13′51.34″W / 40.1037028°N 88.2309278°W / 40.1037028; -88.2309278
Construction started 2006
Completed 2008
Technical details
Floor count 4
Floor area 160,000 sq ft (15,000 m2)
Design and construction
Architect Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects

The Business Instructional Facility (BIF) is a $60 million, 160,000 sq ft (15,000 m2) state-of-the-art business facility designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects located on the Champaign campus at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). The facility is home to numerous classrooms, career development and academic counseling centers, student program offices, a recruitment suite, a 300-seat auditorium, and a spacious study area for students.[1] Rafael Pelli, a partner of Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects who was the project principal for the Business Instructional Facility, explained in an interview on October 17, 2008 (shortly after completion) that the purpose of this building is to serve as "a sense of place, a community, a center to the College of Business".[2] The 'U'-shaped building consists of a large commons area, furnished mainly with wood, with a prominent glass curtain wall on the south side of BIF facing the courtyard formed by the 'U' shape.[3] The building is the first business facility at a public university in the world to achieve a platinum certification through Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), a U.S. Green Building Council rating system used to measure the sustainability in construction, and is the first building on the UIUC campus to achieve a LEED certification.[3][4] The noteworthy 'green' elements of the Business Instructional Facility include solar panels, a green roof, and an energy-efficient cooling and heating system.[4] The combined 'green' initiatives are expected to produce savings of $300,000 per year in comparison with traditional classroom buildings on the UIUC campus.[4]


On July 14, 2005 the University of Illinois Board of Trustees approved the Business Instructional Facility plans allowing the College of Business to begin requesting bids for site preparation and construction.[5] Avijit Ghosh, College of Business Dean at the time, offered appreciation for supporters of the Business Instructional Facility plans: "My thanks to the many alumni, corporate partners, faculty, staff and friends of the College whose generous financial support has made this wonderful project possible."[5] On April 28, 2006, the UIUC College of Business held a groundbreaking ceremony at the Business Instructional Facility construction site in Champaign, Illinois.[6] Construction of the Business Instructional Facility was completed in the summer of 2008 and the building was open for classes in August 2008.[4]


The Business Instructional Facility architecture can be described as "adding a sympathetic and fresh flavor to the campus's rich fabric of Georgian architecture while including sustainable features."[7] According to, the geometry of the Business Instructional Facility is defined by "three perimeter bar buildings" composed of native brick and natural stone forming a 'U'-shape. The opening of the 'U' faces south which encompasses the landscaped courtyard. The commons, located at the base of the 'U', is adorned with wood finishes and is flooded with natural light provided by the glass curtain wall facing the courtyard. The commons "provides grandness and warmth" to the Business Instructional Facility.[3] Furthermore, Craig Copeland, a senior associate of Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, characterized the daylight provided by the glass curtain wall as "a part of the architectural expression" of the Business Instructional Facility."[2] Rafael Pelli described the commons as "the central space, not only physically central, but it's central to the functioning and the use of the space."[2] César Pelli, a renowned Argentinian architect and partner of Pelli Clark Pelli Architects, described the Business Instructional Facility as "a family of its own character, its own quality."[2]

Wolff Landscape Architects, Inc. described the garden courtyard as an entity defined on three sides by the building and thus creates a "continuous indoor/outdoor space" between the commons and the courtyard. The courtyard is arranged with linear pieces of pavement which elongates the building geometry. A raised trough serves as the base of the linear fountain that runs from one end of the courtyard to the other. A linear native prairie plant section and sedge meadow area, split by a path for surface drainage, provides stormwater retention and is adjacent to the fountain. The landscaping contributed to the LEED platinum rating through use of "native plants, on-site stormwater retention, green roofs, and no potable water use." In 2009, the landscape architecture received recognition through the Illinois Chapter American Society of Landscape Architects Merit Award for their design of the garden courtyard at the Business Instructional Facility.[8]

Building Layout

First Floor

The commons area is the central space for students to study and socialize with each other. Further, this space serves host to student events and corporate receptions. The auditorium provides a space for guest lectures, seminars, and conferences.[1] The Margolis Market Information Lab (MIL), located in the northwest corner of the first floor, exposes students to electronic sources of financial and investment data and analytical software[9] through multi-screen stations similar to those used in financial markets.[7] Also, the Trading Lab, located adjacent to MIL, provides "time-delayed" financial data from major media sources creating a business-like atmosphere.[7] The Business Career Services, located in the northeast corner, assists students in their job search with resume critiques, mock interviews, and job search strategy.[10] The PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP Accountancy Student Center offers students studying accounting advising for courses, independent study, jobs, and scholarships and financial aid.[11] Some of the other main features of the main floor include student lounges, the Business Office of Undergraduate Affairs, and a corporate recruitment center.[1]

Upper Floors

The second and third floors possess tiered classrooms that are suitable for presentations while others are flat to provide an ideal space for interaction between students and teachers. All of the rooms are capable of PowerPoint presentations and video-conferences.[1][12] Breakout rooms, mainly located on the second and third floors, provide a convenient space for group collaboration.[7] The Illinois MBA Program, located on the third floor, provides student classrooms, student services, and lounges. The third floor is also home to the Illinois Makerlab, the world's first business school 3D printing lab. Also, the fourth floor, located on the east side of BIF, has many meeting spaces and faculty offices.[1]

Green Roof

According to Rob Kanter, the green roof on the Business Instructional Facility is composed of two different sections, a 1,200-square-foot (110 m2) section located on the fourth floor roof and a smaller area over the auditorium. The green roof contains low maintenance plants growing in a layer of substrate that captures water allowing much less stormwater runoff. Rob Kanter adds that green roofs "discharge cleaner water, thanks to the filtering effect of the substrate and the ... runoff doesn't pick up additional pollutants from the roof itself." Furthermore, the green roof provides better heat reflection in warm weather and insulation in cooler weather. Also, the Department of Civil Engineering at UIUC has placed monitoring equipment on both sections to study the water quality runoff and insulating capacity in comparison to conventional roofs.[13]

Sustainable Design Elements

The LEED rating system criteria is divided into 5 categories: sustainable site, energy and atmosphere, water efficiency, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality.[14] Rafael Pelli admitted that the "biggest challenge is designing a good green building is making the early commitment early on in the process and then incorporating suggestions from various members of the design team."[2]

Sustainable Site

According to LEED design standards and "Green Building Facts", an erosion and sedimentation control plan was developed to limit pollution caused by stormwater runoff. Also, a stormwater management plan was instilled to prevent pollution and disruption of natural water flows. The site of the Business Instructional Facility, formerly a parking lot, was reused and improved limiting the development footprint of the project. Also, the Business Instructional Facility is located near public transportation, Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District, mitigating land development due to automobiles.[14][15]

Energy and Atmosphere

According to LEED design standards and "Green Building Facts", the fundamental commissioning of building's energy systems verified that these items were installed and calibrated as established by the project. Automatic light dimmers were installed to detect natural light and adjust synthetic light sources accordingly to reduce energy consumption. Motion sensors power light fixtures off when rooms are empty to also limit energy use. Triple pane windows that comprise the glass curtain wall provide "phenomenal thermal and acoustical insulation"[2] in addition to high performance insulation. The zinc roof reflects solar radiation away from the building reducing cooling costs. Zero employment of CFC-based refrigerants in heating, air conditioning, ventilating, and refrigeration systems reduces ozone depletion. The Business Instructional Facility receives approximately 8% of its electricity demand from 4,000 square feet (370 m2) of solar panels on the auditorium roof.[14][15]

Water Efficiency

Water use reduction was accomplished with low volume shower heads, toilets, and facets.[15] Also, potable water consumption was eliminated through low maintenance and drought resistant landscaping.[8]

Materials and resources

A construction waste management plan was implemented in order to reduce landfill waste from job site.

Indoor environmental quality

A displacement air system has been installed to efficiently transport warm and cool air throughout the building.[15] This system provides "filtered, humidity controlled, low velocity air" to the entire building.[7] Also, monitoring equipment ensures that the "ventilation systems maintain minimum design requirements", especially carbon dioxide levels, "help promote occupant comfort and well-being".[14]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 About the Instructional Facility, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Business, accessed November 9, 2010.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Architects Discuss Design of Business Instructional Facility, The News Gazette, October 17, 2008, accessed November 23, 2010
  3. 1 2 3 University of Illinois' Business Instructional Facility provides a grand forum for sustainable business education, Architecture News, February 9, 2010, accessed November 9, 2010.
  4. 1 2 3 4 U. of I. Business Instructional Facility achieves top 'green' standard, News Bureau at University of Illinois, December 8, 2009, accessed November 9, 2010.
  5. 1 2 Board of Trustees Approves New Instructional Facility, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Business , 2007, accessed November 23, 2010.
  6. Groundbreaking Ceremony, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Business, 2007, accessed November 23, 2010.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 Projects: Sustainable Design: Business Instructional Facility, University of Illinois: Description, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects , accessed November 26, 2010
  8. 1 2 Business Instructional Facility Landscape Architecture, Wolf Landscape Architects, Inc., accessed November 23, 2010.
  9. Market Information Lab, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Business, accessed November 24, 2010
  10. Business Career Services, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Business, accessed November 24, 2010
  11. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLp Accountancy Student Center, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Business, accessed November 24, 2010
  12. New Business Facility Blends Instruction, Sustainability, News Bureau at University of Illinois, August 19, 2008, accessed November 23, 2010.
  13. Green roof on new Business Instructional Facility an example of UI campus as living, learning laboratory for sustainability, Environmental Almanac , August 7, 2008, accessed November 24, 2010
  14. 1 2 3 4 LEED 2009 for New Construction and Major Renovations, October 2010, U.S. Green Building Council, accessed November 24, 2010
  15. 1 2 3 4 Green Building Facts, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Business, accessed November 24, 2010
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