Of all the building projects we work on at Clayco, some of my favorites are the ones that we do for universities and higher education institutions, as they really make an impact on the lives of students and the next generation of leaders who will drive our future.

We actually just completed construction on a great new project on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and it definitely fits into our mission to go “Beyond These Walls.”

Bohlin Cywinski Jackson was the architect for Siebel Center, a 60,000-square-foot building that’s designed for future flexibility and adaptability. In order to serve as a hub for all students, the building was designed with a focus on maximizing opportunities for interaction and to support multidisciplinary experience-based learning.

The facility includes 9,000-square-feet of collaboration space, nearly 5,000-square-feet dedicated to fabrication, an amphitheater, gallery, multimedia studio, and pop-up café for entrepreneurial food activities. It offers an ample amount of studio space for students, with space set aside for large-scale construction, 3-D printing, laser cutting, and more. This unique design serves to break down the barriers encountered in more traditional learning environments by fostering an innovative atmosphere.

Even the exterior architecture maximizes the use of glazing to achieve a high degree of transparency and visibility throughout as a way to interconnect the interior spaces and the facility with the rest of the campus.

It’s also a LEED Silver-rated project that incorporates an exposed structural steel design to maximize ceiling heights and allow for ample airflow and ventilation. New buildings like this can really enhance college campuses and serve as centers for innovation and knowledge, and I’m looking forward to completing more of these types of projects in the future.