Pearce Brinkley Cease + Lee Completes UNC Coastal Studies Institute in Manteo, NC

New campus creates a regional center for research in coastal development and natural resources.

January 28, 2013 (Raleigh, NC) -- Pearce Brinkley Cease + Lee (PBC+L) recently announced that the firm’s $32.6 million UNC Coastal Studies Institute project in Manteo, NC, is complete and was officially dedicated on January 15.

The Coastal Studies Institute (CSI) is a new research and teaching campus within the University of North Carolina system. Located along Roanoke Island’s Croatan Sound, the CSI is intended to fill a research gap in that part of the state, to address the area’s issues related to development and pressures on its natural resources, and to increase inter-institutional collaboration within the university system. It is the product of a partnership between the UNC Office of the President, East Carolina University, Dare County, and other universities of the UNC system.


The 63,190-square-foot, environmentally sustainable campus includes a research building with classrooms, research labs and offices and a separate marine service facility. The new CSI campus gives scientists a base in eastern North Carolina for conducting research, and it provides a new regional resource facility for coastal education.

According to Clymer Cease, AIA, PBC+L’s Principal in Charge for this project, the facilities’ design is based on the interwoven relationship between architecture and landscape. The main research building is elevated above the ground, allowing the natural landscape to flow beneath the building. Its form and extensive glazing create panoramic views of the surrounding wetlands and sound.

Environmental sustainability was also a key priority, Cease said.  As a result, the new CSI is slated to receive LEED Silver certification.

“The buildings and the site were designed to reflect the aspirations of a world-class research facility,” said Cease, “CSI will foster academic and community-based research on the leading edge of coastal environmental science and completely immersed in North Carolina’s coastal environment.”

PBC+L’s Don Kranbuehl, AIA, LEED AP, served as project architect for the project.

An open house for people living and working in northeastern North Carolina will be held at the new CSI on February 2.

PBC+L is an award-winning architecture firm headquartered Raleigh with offices in Asheville, NC. For more information visit

About the UNC Coastal Studies Institute:

CSI was established in 2003 as a program allowing collaboration, resource sharing, and research program initiation and enhancement. The Institute’s mission is to undertake research, offer educational programs, provide community outreach programs, and enhance communication about the history, culture, and environment of North Carolina’s maritime counties. The Institute focuses on four main areas of study: Estuarine Ecology + Human Health, Estuarine + Coastal Processes, Coastal Sustainability and Maritime History. For more information, go to

About Pearce Brinkley Cease + Lee:

Pearce Brinkley Cease + Lee (PBC+) is an award-winning, full-service architectural firm specializing in academic and cultural arts projects. The firm’s work has been published in numerous professional journals and was ranked 15th in Architect magazine’s 2012 “Top 50” firms in the nation in, based on business success, commitment to sustainability, and design excellence. For more information, visit or find the firm on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Pinterest.


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  • Successful building January 30, 2013
    Reviewed by 'Sarah Houghland'
    This is a beautiful building and the article highlights the important elements.

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