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Engineering Laboratory Seeks Sculpture to Purchase

Posted by University of Illinois ; Posted on 
Public Art; Visual - DEADLINE :  
Engineering Laboratory Seeks Sculpture to Purchase



The Art in Architecture (AIA) Program of the University of Illinois Facilities & Services is pleased to announce a Request for Direct Purchase of Artwork (RDPA). Professional artists are invited to submit images of available work to be considered for the permanent original public art at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). This call seeks art for the Civil Engineering Hydrosystems Laboratory – Renovation and Expansion in Champaign, Illinois. The project is currently under construction and is scheduled to complete construction in 2020.

BUDGET:  Location A:  $20,000 (maximum)   Location B:  $80,000 (maximum)   Location C:  $20,000 (maximum)

ELIGIBILITY: Professional non-student artists over 18, residing in and legally permitted to work in the United States

DEADLINE:  July 14, 2020, 4:00 PM CDT

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) at Illinois, founded in 1867 as one of the first units of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, consistently ranks among the top three CEE programs in the nation and is widely recognized as one of the top programs in the world. Throughout modern history, civil engineers have always been at the forefront of the drive to improve our standard of living. They remain the central figures in the planning, design and construction of many developments, large and small, that make modern life possible. Civil and environmental engineers create the advanced infrastructure of the world around us. Buildings, bridges, dams, roads, railway systems, sanitation systems, flood canals – all of these
projects are led by civil and environmental engineers, through the initial plans, final design, and construction. For more information about the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Illinois, please visit

The CEE Phase II Modernization Project – Renovation and Expansion of the CEEHydrosystems Lab Building – is focused on transforming the Hydrosystems Laboratory into a modern facility, modeled after our previous CEE Yeh Student Center addition to Newmark Lab. It will comprise two traditional classrooms (for 138 and 69 students), two technology-enhanced design studios (for 54 and 30 students, as well as for NDT/sensing/robotics/etc.), and multiple instructional labs (fluids/environmental, geotechnical, materials, and resource recovery). The 45,000+ sf new CEE-Hydrosystems Lab building also comprises faculty and grad student offices, an interactive smart bridge connecting to Newmark Lab, research and collaboration spaces, and an alumni center conference room. It will be directly connected to the existing Ven Te Chow Hydrosystems Lab high-bay space, is a leading experimental research laboratory in the field of water resources engineering.

The new building will represent the entire Civil and Environmental Engineering Departments (CEE) but the department asked the architects to include a “subtle nod to water” in the design of the building and its furnishings, as a way to acknowledge both the history of the building and the unique work that is done there. The subject of water, however, should not necessarily be the dominant theme for the artwork incorporated into the project.

The selection committee has created the objectives for these specific areas to complement and celebrate the building’s use. Choice of media for the project is broad but should be in material suitable for an interior environment. The selection committee may choose two/three separate artists be hired or one artist can be chose for all three locations.

Location A: The collaboration/commons space at the southwest corner of the building, nearest the main entrance and has the potential for large number of people seeing and appreciating the artwork. This area is viewed as a location for a three dimensional piece of artwork. If a 3-D object is selected it should adhere to the needs of the space and not prevent views into and out of the space. The donor wall will be located within the space on the North wall.

  • Medium: Three-dimensional piece.
  • Theme: A celebration of all Civil and Environmental Engineering and the creation of the advanced infrastructure of the world around us with subtle nod to water.

Location B: This area is viewed as the location for the primary piece of art. The Department’s vision for this area is a museum-quality installation mounted on the wall that illuminates the contributions to society of the department’s alumni and faculty. We hope to showcase historical and present-day contributions – such as the conception of the lunar orbit rendezvous system that allowed humans to travel safely to the moon (and back again), engineering developments that make evertaller skyscrapers possible and safe, and environmental engineering advances that cleaned up our nation’s waterways and continue to lessen the negative impact of civilization on the environment – as well as the immense potential for civil and environmental engineers to shape society in the future, thanks to continuing innovation.

  • Medium: Two or three-dimensional piece mounted to the wall.
  • Theme: A “timeline and/or synopsis of what graduates from the CEE department have achieved” in the creation of the advanced infrastructure of the world around us with subtle nod to water.

Location C: The student collaboration space located in the southeast corner of the first floor was named by a CEE alumnus in honor of his parents. Rashod Johnson, a successful African-American engineer from the south side of Chicago, hopes through his gift to invite and inspire African-American students to study civil and environmental engineering at Illinois. The department feels this would be an optimal location for an artwork that somehow communicates inclusion. The space’s restrictions are similar to that of Location A, in that there are glass walls, but it is a significantly smaller space as well, so a smaller three-dimensional artwork might work best here.

  • Medium: Three-dimensional piece.
  • Theme: Artwork that somehow communicates inclusion and invites and inspires AfricanAmerican students to study civil and environmental engineering.

The Selection Committee will consider the artist’s suggestions on where to best locate the artwork at each location.

Artist and/or artist teams may submit their work for consideration and selection by the Selection Committee as defined below. The artist’s work that is selected will be announced through the email to all submitters. Letters/emails will be sent to the selected artist with details of the purchase process.
The selection committee may select a shortlist of artists to be interviewed prior to making a final selection and requesting a proposal. Do not send a proposal unless you have been contacted by the Art-in-Architecture Coordinator. Following notification that an artist has been selected to provide or produce artwork, the artist will be required to register with the University Vendor Services through an online application. See Help document and directions for this process at:

Each item should be labeled with the artist’s name.

  1. JPEG Images (10-15) of the artwork along with size and media of the artwork
  2. Artist Resume (if a team- one from each team member) with current contact information
  3. Artist Statement of intent (one page maximum)
  4. Professional references including contact information

Note: Send images as JPEG files only. Slides will not be accepted nor returned. All submittals become the property of the University of Illinois Art in Architecture Program and will not be returned. The artist retains copyrights to their work.

Interested artists must send images of the material by July 14, 2020 at 4:00 PM CST. Submissions received after this date will not be considered for this project but will be kept for possible review and consideration for other Art in Architecture projects.

Submission material may be delivered by email to

Hand delivered submissions should be addressed to:
Art in Architecture Program
University of Illinois
Facilities & Services/ Capital Programs
1501 South Oak Street
Champaign, Illinois 61820
University of Illinois

QUESTIONS? Contact: Trent Beane at   A complete PDF copy of the Call for Artwork document is available via email.  Send a request for this document to with a return email address. Please include the following in the subject line of the email; “CE Hydro – AiA RFP Request”.


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