University of Illinois - ECE

The ECE (Electrical & Computer Engineering) building is programmed as a place where curiosity is celebrated and intellectual collisions occur naturally. Traffic flow and sight lines are carefully designed to foster collaboration, and interdisciplinary learning and cooperation. Displacement and demand-controlled ventilation, heat-recovery chillers and chilled-beam technology help bring energy use to 46% below ASHRAE 90.1-2007 standards, an exceptional achievement considering the energy-intensive nature of a lab facility with an instructional clean room. The design reflects a LEED Platinum certification.

2016 // Lab of the Year - R&D Magazine
2012 // Green GOOD DESIGN Award - Green Architecture

LOCATION: Champaign, Illinois
SIZE: 230,000 Sq/Ft
TYPE: Higher Education

3 years

David King, FAIA // Carolina Lopez, AIA // Adam Riddle // Coty Sandburg // Laura Holman // JB Park


This project started with a small design team, but eventually grew to over 10 people by the time the design finished. With new people joining at different times, we were able to leverage their new ideas and turn those into concepts we could evaluate against the current design. Some of the images you see below are renderings I created to test out ideas related to shading and light.

Our prototyping techniques usually involved several different applications, such as digital modeling, physical modeling and full scale mock-ups. We would evaluate the physical prototypes on site with the users so that they could hold the artifact that would eventually become their building. The most important element of this project was the relationship between the users and the architectural team. It was truly a team effort and we relied on their design feedback just as much as they relied on us to produce a building they could call home.


The building you see below was a collaborative team effort of more than 100 people (users, architects, engineers, contractors). The result is an award winning, sustainable building that the client loves. All the hard work, long hours (80+ hours a week for several weeks) and stressful decisions were worth it when I first saw the completed building. It’s the project I’m proudest of because it’s the one I should have failed hardest at. Although I was overwhelmed, I was never afraid. I leaned heavily on my teammates and the office for their support in detailing, advice on big decisions, feedback on design direction, and help managing a growing team.

It was the clients goal to make this project highly efficient. ECE is one of the most sustainable buildings in the country with a LEED Platinum certification, an EPA EnergyStar rating of 99 out of 100 and a goal to be net-zero energy.