Natural History Building: Art in Architecture Program Request for Artwork- Urbana, IL

  • Commissioning Entity

    University of Illinois Art in Architecture Program

  • Application Open Date


  • Application Deadline Date


  • Minimum Budget


  • Maximum Budget


  • Location of Commission

    Urbana, Illinois, United States

  • Geographic Eligibilty


  • Contact Name

    Erika Lee

  • Contact Email

    [email protected]

  • Contact Phone

  • Commission Document

    View Link Document

  • Brief Description

    The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Art in Architecture committee is seeking to procure a globe sculpture for the interior of the north entry of the Natural History Building (NHB), a historic building on campus.

    The Natural History Building serves as the home of the School of Earth, Society, and Environment (SESE), and serves as the main teaching facility of the School of Integrative Biology (SIB). The components of these academic units are:

    • SESE: The School of Earth, Society & Environment hosts three academic departments (Dept. of Atmospheric Sciences; Dept. of Geography & GIS; and Dept. of Geology). In addition, SESE anchors a fourth undergraduate major in Earth, Society & Environmental Sustainability, an interdisciplinary degree in environmental studies. For more information about the School of Earth, Society & Environment, please see:
    • SIB: Departments in the SIB seek to discover the complex interrelationships among living organisms and the physical and biological environment in which they live. This is the "new biology," with an emphasis on bringing multiple disciplines to bear on complex scientific questions. For students, this emphasis leads to a deep understanding of biology and its interrelationships. For more information about the School of Integrative Biology, please see:

    The Natural History Building, located at 1301 West Green Street, Urbana, was designed by the prominent architect, Nathan Ricker, and was constructed in three phases between 1892 and 1924. Its exterior facade of red brick has a Victorian look. The building is officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The NHB Renovation and Construction Project, which took 7 years and cost nearly $79 Million, involved a complete gutting and reconstruction of the building's interior. The156,000 sq. ft. building now hosts state-of-theart lecture halls, instructional labs, classrooms, research laboratories, and offices. These serve all components of the three academic departments of SESE, and the teaching components of SIB.

    Because of the nature of the academic activities that take place in the building, the committee is seeking to procure a sculpture of the earth which shall depict and communicate in a realistic, naturalistic, or even abstract way, an aspect of the geological and biologic history.

    Medium: The three-dimensional, floor-mounted sculpture, should consist of a material to be suitable for a high traffic area. It should be made of material that can last indefinitely.


    The budget for the artwork is approximately $40,000. The Art in Architecture committee shall select an artist for the commission from the artists submitting letters of interest and examples of their works. Following that selection, the artist will submit a proposal to the committee to develop and execute the commission.

    The budget includes all expenses associated with, but not limited to the design proposals, design, labor, fabrication, project management, materials, tools, contracted services, operations and meetings, travel required to complete the artwork plus installation, related permits, licenses, taxes, insurance, transportation and delivery of the work to the site, as well as documentation of the completed project. Any expense that exceeds the contracted amount will be the artist's responsibility.

    If special installation requirements are needed for large and/or complex pieces, the artist is responsible for working with the University of Illinois Facilities & Services, Art-in-Architecture Program, the using agency, and other relevant partners to oversee all aspects of the installation.


    Artists/teams may submit their work for consideration as defined below. The artist or team that is selected to produce the custom artwork will be notified by the Art in Architecture coordinator. Do not send a proposal unless contacted by the coordinator.


    The University of Illinois Art in Architecture Program reserves the right to alter any aspect of the selection process or overall project in any way for its own convenience at any time. This Request for Artwork does not constitute either an expressed or implied contract and these provisions are subject to change.


    Artists, artisans, and artist-led teams interested in the project should e-mail the following:

    • Resume (if a team. one for each member) with current contact information. including: Name, Address, Phone, E-mail, Website (if available)
    • Artist Statement/letter of Intent
    • Up to 15 JPEG images of examples of the artist’s artwork.
    • References of at least three professionals (commissioning agency or organization. design or arts professional. architect. landscape architect. engineer. etc.) who have a detailed knowledge of the artist's work and working methods. Include contact name, complete address, telephone number, and e-mail for each reference.
    Please Note:

    All submittals become property of the University of Illinois Art in Architecture Program. The artist retains copyright.


    Interested artists must send the artwork materials by:
    April 3, 2023 at 4:00 P.M
    Submissions received after this date will be kept for review for other Art in Architecture projects. Application materials may be delivered by:
    E-mail, to: [email protected]


    Contact: Erika Lee at: [email protected]