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Exterior view of students gathering at NCSU Plant Sciences Building

North Carolina State University Plant Sciences Building

North Carolina State University Plant Sciences Building | Raleigh, North Carolina

The North Carolina State University (NCSU) Plant Sciences Building is a five-story, $160.2 million building that will allow NCSU to bring together academic, government, and industry researchers to find solutions for some of the most pressing agricultural problems of today, such as how to feed a global population of nine billion by 2050. The space is roughly 184,000-sq.-ft. building, intended for trans-disciplinary teams who will work together to try and solve particular challenges. Due to the unknown makeup of these teams when the facility was programmed and designed, the space was developed around future scientific projects and capabilities, rather than specific investigators.

Project Scope

Plant Science core functional units, which include growth chambers and environmental rooms, are distributed across each research floor, with support spaces providing access to state-of-the-art equipment and staff for help on various research projects. Anchor laboratories for genotyping, spectrometry, transformation/tissue culture, metabolomics, ag-bio engineering, and chemical and soils analysis, serve as a resource for all building occupants, as NCSU looks to take advantage of opportunities to share resources and maximize efficiency.

A core facility in cellular and molecular imaging on the building’s second floor will be a showcase for university researchers spanning across colleges. BL2-P and BL3-P rooftop greenhouses are an important asset for researchers and partners in the North Carolina Plant Sciences Initiative, providing state-of-the-art growing environments with a high degree of environmental controls.

A “neighborhood” concept organizes the office area into zones that provide an array of spaces specific to the needs of different work activities, from large conference space for team meetings to small, enclosed huddle rooms for quiet thinking. With one aspect of the build for academia and the other in the world of corporate bio-agriculture, the building must appeal to a diverse range of people. Taking a cue from the tech world, shared amenity spaces are developed thematically by floor.

Featured spaces on the building’s first floor are intended to be shared by students and visitors to the campus and external partners for training and special events. The importance of community outreach and education to the client is such that program administrators and the design team located these spaces, including a Field Lab and Demonstration Lab, near areas where visitors can gather to await building tours and meetings, including a gallery space and a social hub known as The Hearth. Together, these spaces boost the visibility of NCSU agriculture and plant sciences research throughout Raleigh and around the state.