Central to the Robert Mondavi Institute’s design is the ideal of wine and food as the embodiment of the sustenance of life; this vision is expressed in the architecture and landscape. The interior courtyard and the Good Life Garden are centered on a geometric parterre of edible plants that functions both as a social space and an integral component of the curriculum for the Food Science and Technology Department.
Carefully placed trees will provide generous shade in the courtyard, and a mature olive grove relocated to the courtyard from a neglected area of campus will produce olives to be harvested and pressed as part of the University’s renowned Olive Center.Articulated as an ensemble of three buildings placed around a central garden, the Institute expresses the synthesis of science, culture, and agriculture. The two academic departments, Viticulture & Enology and Food Science & Technology, are organized around shared teaching labs, conference spaces, multi-level interaction areas, and an outdoor terrace overlooking the garden below and the vineyard beyond. Entry and program placement are clearly organized around academic, departmental, and public outreach functions. The North Lab Building, home to the Department of Viticulture and Enology, and the South Lab Building, home to the Department of Food Science and Technology, are entered through an east portal adjacent to the iconic glass stair tower.