University of Illinois

Natural History Building Renovation

The phased comprehensive renovation of this iconic historic building transformed it into a modern learning environment. The facility serves the needs of the School of Integrative Biology and the School of Earth, Society, and Environment, as well as general classroom spaces in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The design features:

  • State-of-the-art wet, semi-wet, and dry labs for advanced courses and specialized research in geophysics, geochemistry, sedimentology, earth materials, geo-microbiology, and remote sensing
  • Computer labs where students work with the latest geographic and remote-sensing data, model the Earth System, and explore mathematical models of biological processes
  • Specialized teaching environments where students can learn how to build analytical instruments that can be used for microscopic analysis of earth materials, visualizing big data using geographic information systems (GIS), and other projects
  • A visualization studio where researchers can analyze satellite weather data to look into the eye of a hurricane, or analyze satellite space mission data with NASA
  • Vibrant community hubs including a vaulted chamber on the third floor and an open space off of the Green Street entrance where students can meet, study, and exchange ideas
  • Numerous seminar rooms and smart lecture halls with the latest IT links, and modern offices designed to foster interdisciplinary collaboration

Read about the preservation of the grand staircase.

“As we finally got underway with classes last week in our ‘new’ NHB, I paused to reflect on our shared long journey so long ago. I want to thank you for all the effort (and angst) you expended in making NHB such a wonderful reality. Everyone loves it! Through your early vision, hard work and dedication, it has eventually become such a functional and attractive place to work and learn. Thanks for your part in making it so!”

Carol Augspurger, Professor of Plant Biology


Champaign, Illinois


154,000 GSF


Program verification, safety audit, laboratory planning and design, equipment planning


Targeting LEED Gold




Heritage Award, Preservation and Conservation Association, 2018

Best Comprehensive Restoration Project, International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers


LCM Architects