NC State University

A Global Hub for Plant Science Innovation

Experiential Design Inspires Students, Researchers & Faculty



The NC State University Plant Sciences Initiative (PSI), headquartered in the new Plant Sciences Building, is one of the world’s premier research and innovation hubs in agriculture. ZEBRADOG was hired as the Experience Design Consultant by Flad Architects to visually communicate the bold mission of this massive team-based research effort.




Architectural Design
Donor Recognition
Experience Design
Experiential Design
Interactive Media Design / Development


Higher Education
Healthcare / Research Labs

The new 185,000-square-foot Plant Sciences Building at North Carolina State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) is a state-of-the-art research center years in the making to prepare students and stakeholders to thrive in a global marketplace.

The mission of NC State Plant Sciences is to improve the world through plant science innovation. This research building is a must-visit experience for future donors, student admissions tours, and visitors to inspire the talent and team-based research of tomorrow.

Three distinct experiences designed by ZEBRADOG inspire researchers, students, and faculty to be creative thinkers, showcase the work being done to recruit new talent, and shine a spotlight on the innovation being done on campus, in North Carolina, and around the world.

Immersive art, digital media, and beautifully integrated materials enhance the architectural design and invite robust collaboration in this impressive place.

Areas of Impact

The Hearth is a two-story, 30-foot-tall immersive art installation inspired by Plant Sciences research station network. Three regions are featured to celebrate North Carolina’s biodiversity: Mountain (light green), Piedmont (dark green), and Coastal (blue). Aerial farmland photography and a distinctive patchwork pattern, created by 253 tiles printed with USGS topographical maps, highlight the state’s diverse landscape. A large central media display cycles through each research center, real-time conditions, and research highlights. Motion is achieved through 26 corresponding light coves which change to reflect the region of each featured station. This stunning data visualization is a point of pride that makes a memorable first impression.

The Plant Sciences Initiative could not be possible without generous philanthropic support. The Seeds of Growth Donor Recognition Experience celebrates the Founding Funders whose financial contributions helped to make the complex needs of team-based plant science a reality. ZEBRADOG experiential designers worked with the interior architectural details to incorporate a pattern of wooden slats and an earthy color palette for the 144 tiles printed with various textures representative of the state’s diverse agricultural economy. In addition to creating a donor recognition scheme to recognize donors of all sizes, an inviting interactive media display explores each donor story and highlights the real impact of how these donations improve programs.

The grand challenges, thriving partnerships, and development of plant science leaders are all celebrated in one incredible Education Exhibit. This dynamic display includes a corner digital terrarium with the ability to broadcast live research from remote stations around the state as well as three 55-inch interactive displays to demonstrate the global reach of the students and researchers through a robust content management system (CMS) displaying videos, research, multimedia stories, alumni network, and more.


NC State Plant Sciences Building Project Details

NC State Plant Sciences Building