North Carolina State University, The William & Ida Friday Institute for Educational Innovation

Raleigh, North Carolina

  • FIRM



    North Carolina State University, College of Education

  • AREA

    36,650 sq.ft.





Education, innovation, inspiration: these are the themes of The William & Ida Friday Institute, a part of North Carolina State University’s College of Education. The mission of this high-tech research and outreach facility is to advance education through innovation in teaching, learning and leadership. This $10 million privately funded facility honors the ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONASSOCIATED FIRMLS3P-BoneyCOST PER SQ FT$272.85CITATIONBronze CitationFEATURED IN2007 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYCommon Areas family’s unwavering commitment to educational excellence and equity. Considered one of North Carolina’s “first families of education,” Bill and Ida have devoted themselves to public service and support for North Carolina’s children and its educational system. Since the seventh grade, when Mr. Friday was inspired by his teacher—Mrs. Wilma Thornburg—he has devoted his life and career to expanding the educational vision that so inspired him as a student.

When NCSU asked the architect to help articulate the Fridays’ visions in the design of the institute, the design team knew that it was not being asked to simply design a bland-looking school or generic learning facility. The team was being asked to create a space that could inspire those within it—a space that could be both welcoming and motivational. The designers understood that the faculty, staff and students of the Friday Institute embrace new ideas, and the innovation and inspiration that is possible through research and education. It was crucial for this new facility to present and foster the ideas of learning, exploration and discovery.

Along these lines, the architect designed a windowed Main Street that provides a living “lesson” as it promotes a heightened interactivity between Innovation Hall, workrooms and the main gallery. Opposite the windowed wall, a gently curving wall and eyebrow soffit slips out into the main lobby, teasing the visitor to explore what lies beyond.

To represent the ideas of learning, exploration and discovery, a series of illuminated blades attached to the curved wall reveal the three actions that define The William & Ida Friday Institute: innovate, educate and inspire. On the reverse side of the blades, images of the Fridays reveal themselves, creating a unique experience that changes with each step down the corridor. The element of surprise that is created encourages interaction within the space. The changing color spectrum draws the visitor down and provides a warm, comforting impression that is suggestive of the institute’s partnership with the university.

This vibrant composition of sculptural space and dimensional graphics instills a memorable experience that visitors will be sure to tell others about.

“Thoughtful use of materials and color make this project stand out.”--2007 jury