Since 1950, the Mechanical Engineering Building (MEB) has been the foundation and headquarters for one of the nation’s top engineering departments. Nearly 20,000 students have become engineers here and then entered the world prepared to take it by storm. Now, with an incredibly generous gift from alumnus Sidney Lu, we are transforming it into the Sidney Lu Mechanical Engineering Building—an incredible, 21st-century facility that will inspire and empower current and future generations of MechSE students to be the best in the world.

This historic project includes a five-level, 25,000 sq. ft. addition to the east of MEB, a 3,000 sq. ft. space increase on the north end, and more than 60,000 sq. ft. of existing space reimagined, reengineered, and optimized for education, innovation, and community. More than ever before, the Sidney Lu Mechanical Engineering Building will be the place where successful careers are launched and the seeds of innovation are sown. It will be truly transformational.

A History of Excellence

The original “Mechanical Engineering Building” is the facility known for the last 70 years as Mechanical Engineering Laboratory. It was built in 1905 for a cost of $25,000. Through its 40-year tenure as MEB, the building was the home of many important innovations, including the groundwork for the Holland Tunnel ventilation system and the “Smokeless Furnace.” In the late 1940s, it took its new name that we still use today. The current MEB—now renamed the Sidney Lu Mechanical Engineering Building—located at 1206 West Green Street in Urbana, opened its doors on May 12, 1950 and featured 113 rooms for department use, including 16 laboratories and 32 classrooms, which were designed to be everything a mechanical engineering student needed in the 1950s. Those needs, of course, have changed drastically.

"Successful engineering requires innovation, collaboration, and a strong commitment to teamwork. An improved MEB will promote these values and allow students to translate textbook knowledge to real-world applications using cutting-edge project labs. By offering a place that promotes learning, inspiration, and a sense of community outside of the classroom, the new MEB will give students the opportunity to showcase the work they do."

- Luis Urrutia (BSME ’16)

"In the new space, the Innovation Studio will be much larger, which will allow more teams to be there interacting with each other, exchanging ideas, but we'll also have more space for designing. We'll have this huge maker space, where students are building, while walking down the hallways, you can see what's happening right there, and that is so inspiring as well."

- Aimy Wissa, MechSE Assistant Professor