September 20, 2021
Our 73rd project in Epstein's Top 100 Project countdown is the rehabilitation of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Engineering Hall, which serves as the main administrative building for the College of Engineering.
The Engineering Hall was constructed in 1892 and went through several partial renovations in its history prior to our work, which began in 1998. For this project, Epstein’s architects and engineers developed a rehabilitation program for the interior and exterior systems of the building. The programs included a complete replacement of the heating, cooling and plumbing systems and minor upgrades to the electrical system. New core space was required so that state-of-the-art systems could be incorporated. This was achieved by removing the existing heavy timber structure in the core and replacing it with a new steel and concrete structure.
The first floor on the Engineering Hall has many small offices for some of the student engineering organizations such as Engineering Council, Engineers Without Borders(EWB), Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Tau Beta Pi, the Society of Women Engineers, and the Society of Black Engineers. There are four lecture classrooms on the first floor, each seating about 40 people.
The main entrance is located on the second floor, which houses the deans' offices. The College of Engineering store, which sells apparel, gifts and other merchandise, is located just outside in the hallway. The office of International Programs of Engineering (IPENG) is located on the east wing. There are several conference rooms on this floor, as well. The third floor has many conference rooms and administrative offices. Some social events such as receptions for UIUC engineering alumni are held here. The fourth floor houses two computer labs as well as more administrative offices and conference rooms.
Architecturally, the space layouts of the existing building were rearranged to achieve a more functional and efficient relationship between departments. The existing exposed wood structure and millwork were restored to their original splendor in keeping with the historical significance of the building.
Epstein upgraded the HVAC systems by installing floor by floor Variable Air Volume air handlers using variable frequency drives. These units utilized chilled water from the central campus utility loop for cooling and hot water for heating. The hot water was generated with a shell and tube steam heat exchanger served by the campus steam tunnel system. The units were equipped with steam humidification system to control relative humidity to 50%. The air distribution systems in this building served varied areas from classrooms to studios to electronic laboratories. Noise and vibration from the air system were minimized through the use of attenuators and acoustic lining.
This project is near and dear to our firm, as it was the building that Abraham Epstein (class of 1911) and his sons, Raymond (class of 1936) and Sidney (class of 1943), spent much of their time in while studying at UIUC.