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Award | English Building wins PACA Heritage Award

English Building Collage

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Just like the classics taught within its walls, so too is the English Building part of the architectural canon at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The Preservation and Conservation Association of Champaign Country (PACA) has recognized this Bailey Edward project with the Heritage Award, given to local projects for their contribution to historic preservation in east-central Illinois.

Located prominently on the west side of UIUC’s Main Quad and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the English Building has seen several renovations and additions throughout the years. Designed by McKim, Mead, and White Architects in a combination of Neo-classical and Georgian Revival styles popular when it was first constructed in 1905, the building has hosted several departments and housed some of the University’s earliest female students. The building was originally built to be the Women’s Building and served as dormitories for Illini women with a pool, gymnasium, and locker rooms. In 1947, the building was repurposed for classroom use and became Bevier Hall, named for Isabel Bevier, founder of UIUC’s Home Economics department and an early leader in the field that is now more commonly referred to as human ecology. In 1956, the English Department moved into the building and it has been known as the English Building ever since.

When the English Building’s slate roof began to deteriorate and required replacement, our staff and subconsultants stepped in to perform investigative work and develop a scope which could meet the University’s tight budget. The team laser scanned the entire building, as well as performed infrared thermography, destructive testing, borescope investigations, and created a WUFI model to understand existing conditions. During these investigations, the team determined that the weight of the existing slate roof tiles overstressed the supporting structure. The thorough investigations comprehensively scoped the project which could then be phased for renovation. Armed with the existing conditions and a laser scan converted to a 3-d model, Bailey Edward could propose the proper techniques and sequential order for the renovation and restoration of the roof surfaces, masonry walls and chimneys, building structure, wood cornices, dormers, windows, lightning protection and attic ventilation.

To further complicate matters, the English Building roof was uninsulated and so it did not meet International Energy Codes per UIUC’s standards. To improve energy efficiency, our team determined a variety of insulation methods (spray applied and flowable) to achieve an increased R-Value.

All work was also prepared in keeping with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for preservation. Thanks to this restoration project, not only will the English Building better reflect its historical significance, but it will also be more structurally sound and sustainable for years to come.