Illinois Football Performance Center

#26
We're probably grading this design against hype videos we've seen from other programs. With Whitman and Lovie locked into the development of this project, I trust this will be excecuted with precision.

Facilities are the Achilles heel of our program. Showmanship will continue to evolve - and unfortunately, splash hires aren't powerful enough to turn the tide.
 
#27
I don't understand all the negativity. How is this anything but a HUGE positive for this program? The negatives are ridiculous: location and architecture/cosmetics? Really?

The location can't get any better or any more functional. It is connected to the indoor practice facility, practice fields, about 20 feet from the stadium, and contains a new weight room and every amenity any football program (college AND professional) could need.

The cosmetic/architecture argument is crazy to me. They tried to make a modern facility tied in with the existing buildings. Seriously, it's a 2 story building made primarily with the same brick as the stadium. Yes there's some glass and a terrace, but it looks great and very professional. I don't get the view of the stadium argument either. Where else would they build it? Very few people approach from that end that would actually notice the blocked view. The money view is from the west, and Grange Grove is designed exactly for that reason.

This got more "ranty" than I anticipated, but seriously, this is a great design. The effect on recruiting will be huge. We're acting like big boys now.
+1

I don't understand all the negativity. This is the best possible location given the space available. No it's not much to look at but it is what's inside that counts. Wait until the interior drawings are released to judge the project. Hopefully, interior renderings are available to recruits at the upcoming BBQ.
 
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#28
+1

I don't understand all the negativity. This is the best possible location given the space available. No it's not much to look at but it is what's inside that counts. Wait until the interior drawings are released to judge the project. Hopefully, interior renderings are available to recruits at the upcoming BBQ.
Agreed. They are doing exactly what is necessary.
 
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#29
Also blows my mind that people are complaining about things like the font in an early release computer rendering. As if that means they are going to use that on the final build. Good god, people. We have the whiniest group of fans sometimes, with have absolutely no sense of vision.
 
#30
San Francisco
I don't understand all the negativity. How is this anything but a HUGE positive for this program? The negatives are ridiculous: location and architecture/cosmetics? Really?

The location can't get any better or any more functional. It is connected to the indoor practice facility, practice fields, about 20 feet from the stadium, and contains a new weight room and every amenity any football program (college AND professional) could need.

The cosmetic/architecture argument is crazy to me. They tried to make a modern facility tied in with the existing buildings. Seriously, it's a 2 story building made primarily with the same brick as the stadium. Yes there's some glass and a terrace, but it looks great and very professional. I don't get the view of the stadium argument either. Where else would they build it? Very few people approach from that end that would actually notice the blocked view. The money view is from the west, and Grange Grove is designed exactly for that reason.

This got more "ranty" than I anticipated, but seriously, this is a great design. The effect on recruiting will be huge. We're acting like big boys now.


I apologize to the community for my critical comments. I didn't realize we shouldn't consider "location and architecture" for an $80 million facility.

I have now seen the light and will get back on board with mindless optimism and hand-clapping for every single decision made by our great University. After all, no mistakes have ever been made and there's never been a better idea for anything that has ever been done in the history of U of I. Thank you for educating me.
 
#31
I apologize to the community for my critical comments. I didn't realize we shouldn't consider "location and architecture" for an $80 million facility.

I have now seen the light and will get back on board with mindless optimism and hand-clapping for every single decision made by our great University. After all, no mistakes have ever been made and there's never been a better idea for anything that has ever been done in the history of U of I. Thank you for educating me.
We've made a ton of mistakes and believe me I do not hesitate to call them out. This is not one of them. This is one of the times they got it right.

The architecture is fine, JFC.
 
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#32
San Francisco
We've made a ton of mistakes and believe me I do not hesitate to call them out. This is not one of them. This is one of the times they got it right.

The architecture is fine, JFC.
Sure, you are welcome to that opinion.

I think this facility is absolutely the right next step (vs. the SEZ project), but we could do a lot better.

Our campus architecture is outstanding and this project simply doesn't live up to the standard. It also encroaches on a facility that should be protected as an architectural landmark.

I would hope they would evaluate other options before breaking ground.
 
#33
I apologize to the community for my critical comments. I didn't realize we shouldn't consider "location and architecture" for an $80 million facility.

I have now seen the light and will get back on board with mindless optimism and hand-clapping for every single decision made by our great University. After all, no mistakes have ever been made and there's never been a better idea for anything that has ever been done in the history of U of I. Thank you for educating me.
I think it is without question the best, most functional location for the facility. Blocking the corner of the stadium from view is a low cost for such a huge investment. Don't forget that ARC and Irwin already block the view from the north and northeast.

In terms of architecture, I'm sure Josh Whitman would be all ears if you came up with tens of millions of dollars of donation in order to restore columns and other expensive architectural features. I'm just curious what the architecture of a football facility is supposed to look like? Does the brick, concrete, and steel of the Irwin indoor facility satisfy your necessary architecture fix?
 
#34
Count me among the meh group. I love the fact we are building a facility, but for $79 million I expected more wow factor. Agree with the comments about the architectural style being off and blocking beautiful Memorial Stadium. Some are saying this doesn't matter, but for this price these details matter.

I've always thought since I first got on campus that it was odd the main focal point when approaching MS from the north (where 95% of campus is) is... the intramural building? Would have liked to see them displace some of IMPE if necessary and feasible. Some type of room (weight room, meeting room, offices) overlooking the northeast corner of MS would have been much more dramatic than the wall of glass facing the practice field.
 
#35
I think it is without question the best, most functional location for the facility. Blocking the corner of the stadium from view is a low cost for such a huge investment. Don't forget that ARC and Irwin already block the view from the north and northeast.
Prior to the new student section, there was nothing on the north side of MS to block.

I'm just curious what the architecture of a football facility is supposed to look like? Does the brick, concrete, and steel of the Irwin indoor facility satisfy your necessary architecture fix?
It's not so much what a football facility should look like, just that it should fit in with our existing beautiful and historic stadium. As others have said, look at Soldier Field for an extreme example of not fitting in with an existing structure.
 
#36
near Ogden & Rt 83
I think is general JW is doing a fine job. Athletics and hiring people is his strength. I have come to realize that my experience in construction and design is better than his.

This design reeks of Soviet era functionalism and Mies van der Rohe flatness.



call me unimpressed

all one has to do is look at MS and AH and see where the bar is at. this falls far short
 
#37
Guys, this a practice facility. It's not an attraction. Memorial Stadium and Assembly Hall are world-class architectural attractions. This facility is all about recruiting and giving the student athletes the best possible amenities. I think there was a whole lot more thought put into this design than some posters are giving credit for. It's not like Lovie Smith doodled some random designs. These were months in the making, being designed by a firm that specializes in these types of buildings. Look at the renderings. The building is made of brick for a reason. They tried to find a nice middle ground of fitting in while having enough modern wow factor.
 
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#38
near Ogden & Rt 83
Guys, this a practice facility. It's not an attraction. Memorial Stadium and Assembly Hall are world-class architectural attractions. This facility is all about recruiting and giving the student athletes the best possible amenities. I think there was a whole lot more thought put into this design than some posters are giving credit for. It's not like Lovie Smith doodled some random designs. These were months in the making, being designed by a firm that specializes in these types of buildings. Look at the renderings. The building is made of brick for a reason. They tried to find a nice middle ground of fitting in while having enough modern wow factor.
Your comments would be valid if the facility were being built 3 blocks east & 3 blocks south , but they aren't . They are going to be an integral part of the MS facility, whether you want to admit it or not
 
#41
Imho it should look like it has been there as long as MS with a slight modern look to it.

Inside, make it technologically advanced, modern, up to date for the recruits. Outside, it should look like a natural seem less extension of MS
So basically the design has too many windows and not enough columns for your liking?
 
#42
So basically the design has too many windows and not enough columns for your liking?
Honestly, yeah. It might be that simple. Not so much on the glass, but certainly on the lack of any architectural feature that would make it either a.) tie into the exiting buildings or b.) be exciting and interesting.

The columns are the primary feature of our historic football stadium, so to not have some reference or tie-in to that on a $70+ million dollar project seems lazy and cookie-cuter. I mean, even a variation on the idea of columns (LED or glass pillars or something) would at least be interesting.

And sure, this is all superficial compared to the larger rebuild and team performance, but appearances certainly matter (see kids/fans obsession with jerseys and shoes). Good programs nail the small stuff while also implementing the broader vision -- we need to aim for that level.
 
#43
I just rolled my eyes so far back into my head I got a good look at my brain.
Hahaha. Exactly. I mean I understand the people who actually care about the historic architecture but let's be honest, no one who we are trying to impress with these facilities, I.E. recruits, cares about the architecture or columns on the stadium. If anything it should be more flashy. Basically the opposite of what people complaining around here want. I believe that's definitely going to be the case on the inside. Because that's what recruits like.

Not to mention the fact that Whitman just toured the nation checking out the best facilities there is. So people don't think this design is right up there based on the best colleges have to offer? Whitman knows exactly what he's doing.
 
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#44
I don't care about architecture based on the historic campus or stadium. There is tons of variety around campus marking the passage of time and style. Glass overlooking the practice field and columns is damn cool to me. The West side renovations show that can be done well.

My only concern is the seemingly lack of creativity in the location. I just wish they would have found a way to merge it completely around Irwin, integrate into the east IMPE, utilize the current NW corner and NEZ area, go sub grade in front of the stadium, or go vertical everywhere else. Hell, tear down part of Irwin and rebuild that whole corner.

A lot to ask for - but there is a lot of room in that area that is being underutilized. Now they are cutting into practice fields, building non-cohesive to the stadium, and blocking some of it in the process. I guess I just expected something different.

But being critical is what these message boards are about. Those of you who think we are curmudgeons because we have an opposing opinion are silly. We are just here to discuss these things.
 
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#45
I don't care about architecture based on the historic campus or stadium. There is tons of variety around campus marking the passage of time and style. Glass overlooking the practice field and columns is damn cool to me. The West side renovations show that can be done well.

My only concern is the seemingly lack of creativity in the location. I just wish they would have found a way to merge it completely around Irwin, integrate into the east IMPE, utilize the current NW corner and NEZ area, go sub grade in front of the stadium, or go vertical everywhere else. Hell, tear down part of Irwin and rebuild that whole corner.

A lot to ask for - but there is a lot of room in that area that is being underutilized. Now they are cutting into practice fields, building non-cohesive to the stadium, and blocking some of it in the process. I guess I just expected something different.

But being critical is what these message boards are about. Those of you who think we are curmudgeons because we have an opposing opinion are silly. We are just here to discuss these things.
No one thinks you are a curmudgeon because you have an opposing opinion. We are rolling our eyes at posters talking about how they guess Josh Whitman just doesn't have the fine art experience they have and listing a bunch of (incorrect) art jargon to impress everyone with how cultured they are.

A lot of us got degrees from FAA. We don't all shoehorn it into sports posts because it sounds douchey.
 
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#46
So basically the design has too many windows and not enough columns for your liking?
Natural and seemless does not necessarily mean plenty of columns. There are other ways to make it seem more natural.

Another issue brought up in a subsequent post (peace David's) which has not been discussed here is this facility encroaching on practice field space. Is that not a concern?
 
#47
Thoughts On The New Football Performance Center

5. Final Thoughts
Where I land: we desperately need new stuff. The stadium was expanded for the fans in 2008, and there was a nice recruiting lounge built underneath the new north stands, but the team has continued to use the outdated (by decades) locker room and meeting rooms. So adding anything is a huge improvement. We really, really need this stuff. One walk through the current facility and many of you would laugh out loud. We really, really need this.


https://illiniboard.com/story/2017/7/21/thoughts-on-the-new-football-performance-center/
 
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#48
I disagree that this facility won't be a natural/seemless integration. I think that the current plans show an exceptionally functional facility that encloses our football facilities into a single, unified location immediately adjacent to existing facilities and the stadium.

On the issue of obstructing MS, I can't help but think that is a bit silly to argue. Doesn't Irwin already block the iconic columns from the north and east (and won't Irwin surely be taller than this facility?)? When you drive down Fourth St, the columns are blocked by trees and the tarped fence around the practice fields. The view the new facilities will obstructing doesn't exist in the first place. The only view of the east side columns that currently matters is from the fan entrance on the south, a view that will still exist and that will be complemented by the addition of a striking, impressive, and modern (but subtle and enclosed behind Irwin and fences/trees to the east) new facility.

As far as seemlessness, I don't think the facility will stick out much, if at all, given that it is relatively short and squat, and is hidden by other buildings or the preexisting enclosure around practice fields. The renderings show additional landscaping on the east side to further enclosed the facility from the public. And I think that is a goal - the primary focus of the facility is the giant windows/balcony on the south side overlooking the enclosed practice fields and columns. I can't help but think using the facility to maximize what is one of the few options for a non-graveyard, non-parking lot view is a very good decision. Imagine recruiting events where families and recruits talk with coaches and players outside, on the balcony of a brand new facility, looking down over pristine practice fields flanked by the facade and columns of memorial stadium, and enclosed from the public by trees and fences. That sounds good to me. Aesthetically, I find the plans to be sleek and modern without hurting the impressiveness of the MS facade in any way. Campus architecture has been moving in a modern direction (see BIF, ECE), and I think that this facility does a much better job of incorporating itself into campus architecture than any other recent build.

As practice field space goes, remember this is the preferred option of lovie (and presumably his staff). Clearly losing some grass is not that big of an issue. I am inclined to believe what will remain will be more than sufficient, especially if the grass fields are replaced with turf. In the past, Beckman would use the stadium for practice to avoid tearing up the grass - turf practice fields would solve that issue. It could be the case that a smaller area of turf is as functional as a larger area of grass, considering maintenance and wear concerns. Not to mention the facility is also integrated into Irwin.

On other locations that have been proposed, I think they are either impractical or worse than this proposal. Moving behind the ARC would result in the same space limitations that exist with the current NEZ facilities, or mess with existing infrastructure for little gain. Wrapping around Irwin was how I always thought this facility should be built, but looking at the renderings it's clear that putting the facility south of Irwin is much smarter - it's more private, integrates into existing practice space better, and uses the space around Irwin functionally for parking. Putting the facility underground is antithetical to what is supposed to be an impressive, eye-catching facility. Moving the practice facilities blocks away is incredibly idiotic for any number of reasons. This is clearly a very good solution and a smart use of space and existing facilities.

I side with the professionals on this one.
 
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#49
Captain 'Paign
Phoenix, AZ
I disagree that this facility won't be a natural/seemless integration. I think that the current plans show an exceptionally functional facility that encloses our football facilities into a single, unified location immediately adjacent to existing facilities and the stadium.

On the issue of obstructing MS, I can't help but think that is a bit silly to argue. Doesn't Irwin already block the iconic columns from the north and east (and won't Irwin surely be taller than this facility?)? When you drive down Fourth St, the columns are blocked by trees and the tarped fence around the practice fields. The view the new facilities will obstructing doesn't exist in the first place. The only view of the east side columns that currently matters is from the fan entrance on the south, a view that will still exist and that will be complemented by the addition of a striking, impressive, and modern (but subtle and enclosed behind Irwin and fences/trees to the east) new facility.

As far as seemlessness, I don't think the facility will stick out much, if at all, given that it is relatively short and squat, and is hidden by other buildings or the preexisting enclosure around practice fields. The renderings show additional landscaping on the east side to further enclosed the facility from the public. And I think that is a goal - the primary focus of the facility is the giant windows/balcony on the south side overlooking the enclosed practice fields and columns. I can't help but think using the facility to maximize what is one of the few options for a non-graveyard, non-parking lot view is a very good decision. Imagine recruiting events where families and recruits talk with coaches and players outside, on the balcony of a brand new facility, looking down over pristine practice fields flanked by the facade and columns of memorial stadium, and enclosed from the public by trees and fences. That sounds good to me. Aesthetically, I find the plans to be sleek and modern without hurting the impressiveness of the MS facade in any way. Campus architecture has been moving in a modern direction (see BIF, ECE), and I think that this facility does a much better job of incorporating itself into campus architecture than any other recent build.

As practice field space goes, remember this is the preferred option of lovie (and presumably his staff). Clearly losing some grass is not that big of an issue. I am inclined to believe what will remain will be more than sufficient, especially if the grass fields are replaced with turf. In the past, Beckman would use the stadium for practice to avoid tearing up the grass - turf practice fields would solve that issue. It could be the case that a smaller area of turf is as functional as a larger area of grass, considering maintenance and wear concerns. Not to mention the facility is also integrated into Irwin.

On other locations that have been proposed, I think they are either impractical or worse than this proposal. Moving behind the ARC would result in the same space limitations that exist with the current NEZ facilities, or mess with existing infrastructure for little gain. Wrapping around Irwin was how I always thought this facility should be built, but looking at the renderings it's clear that putting the facility south of Irwin is much smarter - it's more private, integrates into existing practice space better, and uses the space around Irwin functionally for parking. Putting the facility underground is antithetical to what is supposed to be an impressive, eye-catching facility. Moving the practice facilities blocks away is incredibly idiotic for any number of reasons. This is clearly a very good solution and a smart use of space and existing facilities.

I side with the professionals on this one.
Very good arguments for why the proposed facility is the best design. I tend to side with the professionals (and Lovie and JW) that this concept works best from both a functional and aesthetic perspective.

People forget how obstructed that view is already from the east side of the stadium. The west side is the money shot view that will be and should be preserved, and that is where the majority of the action is on gamedays (Grange Grove, tailgate lots, etc). To the east of the stadium you have... a cemetery, and a now 15 year old practice facility that was purposely designed for functionality and did not try to mimic the classic stadium architecture. As a past architecture student, there is a reason why additions to classic buildings usually do not try to completely mimic the existing architecure (same reason they did the reno the way they did with the Armory), and that's because it messes with the intended proportion and scale of the historic architecture.

That and I agree that as this facility is going to be mostly hidden and is intended to be private (not public), and not a focal point (which should rightly be the stadium itself), that it should not try to stand out architecturally on it's own merits, but should be as functional as possible while leaving the flash to the inside where it will impress potential recruits while providing great facilities for players and coaches.

All in all I think this facility is the right move, and the SEZ addition can focus on bringing the rest of the stadium and fan experience up to par and beyond.
 
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