University of Illinois at Springfield Student Union

Designing a Leadership-Focused Student Union
Springfield, Illinois

To energize campus life at what is often thought of as a commuter campus, we planned and designed a new student union at the University of Illinois at Springfield. The new union’s design uses overlapping spaces for dining, studying, lounging, student leadership, and campus-wide gatherings to create an active hub for student life. 




student leadership center


square-foot green roof


rainwater reclamation system

The building is anchored by a prominent student leadership center, food venues, a convenience store, a recreation venue, and a variety of enclosed meeting spaces. These rooms are joined by a flexible social and collaborative spaces that offer different levels of privacy and the ability to comfortably accommodate an individual as well as a large group.

The first-floor student leadership center features flexible workspace, meeting areas, and offices for student government and volunteer groups to meet, while the expandable ballroom and banquet facilities on the second floor were designed for use by both the university and community. All campus dining facilities moved into the new union, effectively making this building the “home” of the campus. Inside spaces spill out to a new “Student Life Plaza” framing the south end of the main campus quad, putting student life and activity on display as well as creating opportunity for outdoor programming and large campus events.

From the start, students played an active role in the planning of the new facility, and many program decisions were based on student input.   


University of Illinois at Springfield


LEED® Gold


Facility Design Award of Excellence

Association of College Unions International 2019

Outstanding Design – Work in Progress

American School & University Architectural Portfolio 2015

Square Footage

52,208 SF


$19 million


  • Architecture
  • Planning, Consulting and Advisory


  • Education


  • Midwest