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Center for Design Innovation Celebrates Opening of New Facility in Wake Forest Innovation Quarter

Creativity, inquiry and discovery have a new home base.

The Center for Design Innovation (CDI), a multi-campus research center of the University of North Carolina system, today celebrated the official opening of its $13.7 million, 24,000-square-foot headquarters facility in Wake Forest Innovation Quarter.

CDI marked the occasion with an event for invited guests that included a ribbon-cutting ceremony and remarks by representatives of local and state institutions, followed by an open house for the public.

“We are extremely pleased to be in our new permanent home,” CDI Executive Director Pamela Jennings, Ph.D. said. “This world-class facility is an engine for incubating North Carolina’s discovery economy.   Connecting the region to the state and beyond.  The Center for Design Innovation is a uniquely adaptable research and learning environment that will connect our campuses to our local community.”

The multi-level complex comprises a series of flexible, interconnected nodes that are suited to the wide range of interdisciplinary programs and projects bridging art and design, technology and science that CDI conducts in partnership with Winston-Salem State University, the UNC School of the Arts and Forsyth Technical Community College and the regional community at-large.

CDI’s signature facilities include multiple design studio spaces that will support learning and entrepreneurial activities in making and prototype development for research and entrepreneurship.  The CUBE, a 60 cubed feet experimental space is designated to be an audio, visual and computational “building as instrument” supporting leading-edge research and creative productions from immersive performance and data visualization to 3D cinema, augmented reality and motion capture.

Designed for speed and scalability, CDI’s 10 gigabit network connects via the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter to the North Carolina Research and Education Network backbone (NCREN).  Along with state-of-the-art servers and programmable Wi-Fi, the CDI can support projects that require significant compute demands.

Among distinctive features of the building is a spacious atrium appropriate for impromptu meetings with colleagues, exhibitions, events and other activities. The top floor of the building is a multi-purpose space that can host special interest group meetings, community design charrettes, workshops, and symposiums.

The building incorporates numerous sustainable design elements and is registered with the U.S. Green Building Council for the purpose of obtaining LEED Silver certification. It was designed by CJMW Architecture of Winston-Salem, and its construction was managed by Samet Corp. and SRS Inc. of Greensboro. “The design process started with brainstorming sessions with a group of people from the Center and its collaborating institutions,” said Jeff Sowers, an Associate of CJMW Architecture and the building’s designer.  “We talked about making a place of possibilities; the challenge was then to bring that into 3 dimensions.”

Located on a four-acre tract on Design Avenue off Rams Drive, the CDI building is the first facility to open in the south district of Wake Forest Innovation Quarter.

“The cutting-edge work that the Center for Design Innovation does perfectly aligns with the culture of the Innovation Quarter, and the new facility is magnificent,” said Innovation Quarter President Eric Tomlinson. “There could not be a more suitable anchor for our south district.”