October 2015
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Center for Design Innovation Celebrates Opening of New Facility

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Sept. 23, 2015 – Creativity, inquiry and discovery have a new home base.

CDI Building Photo Dusk (high res) Photo courtesy Randy Wilson
CDI Building Photo Twilight (high res) Photo courtesy Randy Wilson


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.”


Media contacts: Laura Huff, Center for Design Innovation,, 336.727.4310; James Patterson, Wake Forest Innovations,, 336.713.1652.

About the Center for Design Innovation
The CENTER for DESIGN INNOVATION ( is a multi-campus research center of the University of North Carolina system. Part laboratory, part workshop and part convening space, the Center’s 24,000 sq. ft. facility is a visual gateway to a newly emerging Winston-Salem and the greater Piedmont.  The Center promotes research and learning opportunities in design thinking and advanced manufacturing and imaging technologies as they push the boundaries of new forms in creative expression, technology innovation, and scientific discovery. As a new kind of incubator engine powering people across a region long known for its innovations in manufacturing and the arts, the Center works broadly with members of the academic, business, and community organizations along with its founding partners Winston-Salem State University, UNC School of the Arts, and Forsyth Technical Community College.


About Wake Forest Innovation Quarter

Wake Forest Innovation Quarter ( in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is a place for research, business and education in biomedical science, information technology and advanced materials. The Innovation Quarter is one of the fastest growing urban-based innovation districts in the United States with more than 3,000 people working in over 50 companies and numerous academic departments and with more than 1,800 students undertaking advanced education and workforce development annually. The Innovation Quarter currently comprises over 2.5 million square feet of inspirational office, laboratory and educational space on its 145 developable acres. In addition, there are several hundred apartments, lofts and condominiums within or close by the Innovation Quarter.


A New Star for North Carolina’s ‘Discovery Economy’

The Center for Design Innovation (CDI) and its new Innovation Quarter center and lab represent a major opportunity to grow the state’s ‘discovery economy’ – utilizing the art and science of creativity and design to inspire entrepreneurial enterprise and a 21st Century workforce.

Locally, CDI fits into an emerging landscape of business and technology incubators and accelerators in North Carolina working to facilitate new business startups and investment. In that role, it can provide much needed expertise and support to other Triad region and statewide organizations.

On a national level, CDI must fit into a network of strategic centers aligned with research

Continue reading A New Star for North Carolina’s ‘Discovery Economy’

Find Your Drive | Design Thinking and Leadership Workshop for Girls

Girls Driving Logo

Four Stanford University Design students will be in Winston-Salem on August 12-14 to give FREE WORKSHOPS on Design Thinking and Leadership for middle school girls. Their goal is to make a difference in the lives of young girls by teaching them the tools and skills of design thinking.

The workshop, hosted at CDI on August 12 from 2-4pm, is designed to give girls the tools, inspiration, and creative confidence to discover their purpose, enact social change in their communities, and envision their own dreams for someday changing the world.

What will happen during this workshop?

1) Design Thinking Challenge

Continue reading Find Your Drive | Design Thinking and Leadership Workshop for Girls

Jennifer Riley

Jennifer Riley, CDI Intern and WSSU Senior, is featured in the Scientific American blog for her conference poster presentation on the iSwoop project.

Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology
2015 Annual Meeting – Jan 3-7, 2015

450 Design Avenue, Winston-Salem, NC 27101 USA; Phone: 01.336.750.8400