For over 30 years, Sasaki has worked with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on projects including a comprehensive master plan for the campus and associated agricultural research land, as well as numerous landscape design projects. The central theme of planning and design at Illinois expands and perpetuates the best traditions of the university's past physical development. In developing of several major campus quadrangles, for example, Sasaki drew inspiration from plans from the 1920s and the Main Quad at the heart of campus. Sasaki's work reinforces the desired relationships among academic, research, and support units and achieves an overarching spatial order that clearly links the various campus precincts together while maintaining functional integrity. The result is an organized system of campus spaces and land-use precincts that accommodate future growth and reflect the school's international reputation.
The core campus of this land grant institution spans nearly 1,500 acres, with agricultural research facilities occupying an additional 3,500 acres. Addressing four major districts, the comprehensive campus master plan guides the accommodation of over six million square feet of facilities, establishes an open space framework that extends and protects the landscape character of the campus, and addresses pedestrian, bicycle, transit, and vehicular circulation, and parking systems in a comprehensive and integrated plan. Sasaki's plan for the South Campus includes programming and master planning services and addresses facilities renovation, program consolidation, land acquisition, infrastructure expansion, environmental conservation within riparian zones, and public review of the plan.
Additional Sasaki projects for the university include design guidelines for campus lighting, signage, and landscape development; historic landscape reports; and planning and landscape design for the Central Quadrangle, chemistry and life sciences building, North Campus and Engineering Quad, Robert Allerton Park, and South Quad/Buell Hall. Sasaki also completed a master plan for the South Campus, which comprises teaching space, research facilities, and lands for the College of Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences and College of Veterinary Medicine.
The cultural landscape treatment plan for the gardens at Robert Allerton Park—a 1,500 acre historic estate—balances historic preservation with strategies for present day use of the property as a public park and conference center for the university. The plan defines an approach for preserving fragile sculptural and landscape features and provides for the care of large, complex resources.