ZGF worked closely with University of California, Davis to design a facility that would pay homage to the agricultural roots of the campus while reflecting the University’s collaborative approach to research. The resulting Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science establishes a home for one of the most prestigious wine and food science academic programs in the world.


The Institute is articulated in an ensemble of buildings and rooted in the character of the nearby farmland and vineyards of California’s Central Valley. Consolidating UC Davis’ departments of Viticulture and Enology and Food Science and Technology into a 139,000 SF facility, the Institute offers students more courses in food and beverage science than any other university in the nation, all while serving as a gateway between UC Davis and a broad community of scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, policymakers, and industry professionals engaged in every facet of wine and food science. Approached from the freeway, the west campus entry was integrated into a master plan that supports a new gateway to the campus and sets the context of the Viticulture and Enology complex.


A Sensory Research Theater, sensory teaching / research laboratories, conference spaces, multi-level interaction areas, and offices all call the Institute home, and a central garden featuring edible plants functions as both a social space and an integral component of the curriculum for the Food Science and Technology department.


The Institute is respectful of the surrounding landscape, implementing strategies that allow the facility to be as environmentally sensitive as possible. Some of these innovations include optimal solar orientation, natural ventilation, water efficiency measures, incorporation of local materials including reclaimed olive barrel redwood, and preserving as much land as possible for agricultural purposes.