Sidney Lu Mechanical Engineering Building



Sidney Lu Mechanical Engineering Building

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.

MEB in 1950


Active-learning classrooms and state-of-the-art laboratories will revolutionize the way our students learn.

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The innovation-rich environment of the new Sidney Lu Mechanical Engineering Building will inspire creativity and foster teamwork, opening up a world of possibilities and new ideas.

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The Sidney Lu Mechanical Engineering Building will provide students a space to make their “home away from home.”

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Building Floor Plans

Explore plans for each floor of the new facility. 

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Learn About Sidney Lu

Many of the MechSE Department's standout moments from the past few years have been made possible by our 1981 graduate Sidney Lu.

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The department’s historic groundbreaking celebration of the Mechanical Engineering Building took place on Friday, October 12, 2018.

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Give Now

The transformation of MEB into the Sidney Lu Mechanical Engineering Building is the department’s largest undertaking ever, with an estimated cost of $41 million. Once it is completed, MechSE’s education, innovation, and community will bolster the department’s place among the nation’s elite engineering programs for decades to come.

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