The Dewberry/Workshop team’s design for the University of Illinois Springfield’s New Student Union creates a strong social heart for the university. On a campus that has lacked a student union or the density critical to a vibrant social environment, the building’s program and planning concept contain very few single-use spaces or dedicated ASSOCIATED FIRMWorkshop ArchitectsCAPACITY1,864FEATURED IN2015 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYWork in Progress zones. Program elements are intentionally overlapped and interwoven to serve a variety of different functions and ensure a continual buzz of activity. The thick-space lounge weaves throughout the building. It incorporates a variety of scales and textures, and ensures that there is a comfortable place for everyone.
The campus’ primary dining facilities also will move into the new union, which will make the building the effective “home” of the campus. It will have a wide range of dining options, a campus “sports grille” and a new coffee shop. Inside spaces spill out to a new Student Life Plaza that frames the south end of the main campus quad and puts student life and activity on display. The concept also establishes possibilities for outdoor programming and large campus events.