UNC Coastal Studies Institute

  • area / size 63,190 sqft
  • Completed 2013
  • Clark Nexsen alongside Cahoon & Kasten Architects designed a unique yet essential space for UNC Coastal Studies Institute in Wanchese, North Carolina.

    The mission of the UNC Coastal Studies Institute is to be a model of sustainability through its architecture, building systems, and through the research it conducts. The facility provides a venue for inter-institutional collaboration and offers a new national resource for coastal education. The building was designed to minimize its impact on the land, but to also anchor itself to the place – an existing landscape of fragile wetlands and waterways.

    The harsh and severe coastal environment provided inspiration for the building’s design as well as an opportunity to create a facility that encourages interaction among the students, faculty, and the public. Organized into three levels, all public spaces are concentrated on the lower floors while the private research spaces are on the upper floor. The ground floor is primarily open to the outside to create large, covered outdoor educational spaces and to allow panoramic views of the sound and wetlands. The levels are connected by a three story lobby space and a pair of steel and cable rail stairs which touch the ground. The building’s material palate is carefully selected for the harsh coastal environment with mostly local materials while providing durability and ease of maintenance. The facility is LEED Gold certified and showcases a number of innovative features that help protect the land, water and natural resources.

    ArchitectClark NexsenCahoon & Kasten Architects
    ContractorThe Whiting-Turner Contracting
    PhotographyMark Herboth