The Corner: Where Sustainability and Outreach Collide

Located at the intersection of Main Campus Drive and Research Drive on Centennial Campus is a new open-air community space. This activation destination is named appropriately, The Corner.

Comprised of brightly painted shipping containers, solar structure, giant-sized grass couch and event stage, campus community members are welcome to socialize and gather. At night, the space is lit by a zig-zag of twinkling energy-efficient LED string lights.

“We wanted to provide a place for all members of the [NC State] community to meet, eat or just kick their feet up”, said Jude DesNoyer, activation and outreach manager for the Office of Real Estate and Development. “Time has been put into creating this space to be programmable for groups to use with ease, while also taking into account sustainable and energy efficient practices.”

The foundation for sustainability at The Corner begins with the five upcycled shipping containers. Purchased from a local company minutes from campus, the vibrant shelters also feature murals done by NC State students, staff and faculty.

Other materials on the site that have been repurposed include outdoor picnic tables, cafe lights, pavers and large boulders that dot the landscape. The giant grass couch, affectionately named “the Grouch”, is also an example of reuse at work. Originally created for the Dreamville Music Festival, it now provides a backdrop for social media or just lounging with friends. 

Wooden tables and bar tops inside the containers also welcome visitors to relax, dine or study. These functional pieces of art were crafted on campus by NC State Campus Operations and Maintenance team members from a large white oak that fell during a storm.

“This project highlights the craftsmanship that we have on our team”, said Sarah Ketchem, director of Landscape Maintenance and Operations. “What I love most [about The Corner] is seeing the Facilities teams’ creative approach to reusing existing resources and giving them a new life.”

Visitors to the space will note the space is also a waste-free zone. Everyone is asked to pack out their trash and sort it for disposal inside nearby buildings’ recycling, compost and landfill bins or at home.

“The Corner is a really cool and unique space,” said Lynn Swank, the Design and Construction project manager for the site. “Our hope is that people will appreciate the newness of the space and gravitate towards it.”

Reservations for individual containers and the lawn area are being accepted. Learn more about The Corner at