College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities

Message From the Director

Fall 2014: Making Things and a Difference

kate MAKE
Making is fundamental to what it means to be human. We must make, create, and express ourselves to feel whole.

There are few things more selfless and satisfying than giving away something you have made.

You must learn to make. You may become a journeyman or master craftsman, but you will still learn, want to learn, and push yourself to learn new techniques, materials, and processes.

The rules above are short forms of three of the nine rules proposed by Mark Hatch in his book, “The Maker Movement Manifesto: Rules for Innovation in the New World of Crafters, Hackers, and Tinkerers”. It’s interesting and important that this well-accepted manifesto for a contemporary cultural movement can be easily applied to contemporary architectural education at Clemson.

Our students and faculty are constantly “making, learning, sharing, giving, tooling up, playing, participating, supporting, and changing” (the 9 rules). As they are making things, they are also making a difference in the lives of people and communities. “Making” in which our students have been engaged in recent months, and about which you can read in this newsletter, have included: Designing (making) “Indigo Pine” for the 2015 DOE Solar Decathlon; Proposing (making) innovative precast concrete applications; Designing and building (making) a new demonstration trailer for a nano-brewery; Designing and building (making) a real-life cloud network for Moogfest in Asheville; Designing and building (making) a “CropStop” prototype kitchen as part of Charleston’s farm-to-school initiative; And designing and building (making) multiple bridges, art and wayfinding for the South Carolina Botanical Gardens. I think you will be impressed with what is being made.

Thanks to all of you who have inquired about Clemson’s progress with the design and building of a new center for architecture, historic preservation and related disciplines in Charleston. The Spaulding Paolozzi Center received preliminary approval of the building design from the Charleston Board of Architectural Review in June, but that decision has since been challenged in court. While our policy is not to comment on pending litigation, Clemson is committed to continuing to be a good neighbor and having a positive impact on the economy and quality of life in Charleston. I am extremely proud of our students, faculty and staff in these programs. Their long record of academic achievement and community service speaks for itself. As I know more about the timeline for the new center, I will keep you posted.

Kate Schwennsen, FAIA, Hon. FKIA, Hon. RAIC, Hon. RAIA, Hon. JIA, SFDFC
Professor and Director


Spring 2014: Our Second 100 Years

kate-centennialThe study of architecture at Clemson University is in its second century. That’s an accomplishment! Any accomplishment is accompanied by responsibilities. The centennial events of last year confirmed to us that the values we hold now are not new, and that the values we hold now are worth keeping.

Looking back, we ended our centennial year with three important exhibits, the conclusion of an alumni lecture series, an internationally recognized symposia, the inauguration of an alumni awards program, and a big party. These events included almost every faculty member and current student, and we thank them for their participation. The events also included many, many alumni. One of the exhibits, GrassRoots, was a compelling and interactive alumni listing. I was honored that the student team provided me with an honorary GrassRoot. It was everyone’s goal to produce a complete alumni list for that exhibit. We were aiming for perfection, but expect that we have not achieved it, so please let us know if there are any errors or omissions.

In this past year we have had some notable successes, which together are related. Good news tends to produce more good news. The architectural and structural design of Lee III has continued to receive recognition, bringing with it recognition of its design team, alumni and the school; We received a record number of applications, with broad domestic and international geographic representation, to our graduate and undergraduate programs for Fall 2014 admissions; Our graduate program was ranked in the top 10 public programs for a second consecutive year; We had a record number of participants in our annual Career Expo, again with broad geographic representation; And we launched two new graduate certificate programs, both with robust enrollments.

Our students and faculty continue to incorporate visionary ideals into their work, use design to engage the critical issues of our time, and to be passionate about making a difference. This website can’t fully communicate the special energy that permeates this place, but does offer a taste of who and what we are, now.

We know that the current success of this school is built on the 100-year foundation established by over 5,000 alumni and a dedicated global faculty and staff. We promise to continue designing and building on that foundation. Although we won’t be around to plan the bicentennial events, we want to make sure that those who do plan it remember us, and have plenty to celebrate.

Kate Schwennsen, FAIA, Hon. FKIA, Hon. RAIC, Hon. RAIA, Hon. JIA, SFDFC
Professor and Chair


Fall 2013: 100+ Years of Architectural Leadership Celebrated

kate-genoaIn late June, other faculty members, many alumni and I attended the AIA Convention, the largest annual meeting of the architecture profession in the country, (and probably of the world). The theme of this year’s convention was “Building Leaders”, and there could not have been a better theme or showcase for Clemson’s School of Architecture. This “bonus-event” to our year of centennial events, provided very public recognition of a number of our alumni as “building leaders”, or as we say, “transformational architectural leaders, shaping the world of the 21st century for a better future”.

Derwin Broughton, AIA (2000), received one of only fifteen 2013 AIA Young Architects Awards, for his exceptional leadership early in his professional career in addressing the needs of emerging professionals as well as minorities and underrepresented groups. When congratulated on this award, Derwin spoke of how humbling it was to be recognized, but “with honor and recognition comes great responsibility – responsibility to not settle but to continue to strive for causes larger than me.”

Mark Carroll, AIA (1978) and his partners received the 2013 AIA Twenty-five Year Award for the Menil Collection by Renzo Piano Building Workshop, for leadership in creating architectural design of enduring significance. Jury comments included: “Timeless - still an amazing precedent for museum design, daylighting, and a clean plan - it's about the contents, not the building itself. Contextually responsive to it’s interesting low scale neighborhood it influenced this quadrant of Houston in many different ways.”

Thomas Phifer, FAIA (1975 and 1977) and Partners received one of only eleven 2013 AIA Institute Honor Awards for Design Achievement in Architecture for his leadership in design achievement, “demonstrating exemplary skill and creativity in the resolution and integration of formal, functional, and technical requirements” (as defined by the AIA Honor Awards program), for our new academic home, the expanded Lee Hall. Jury comments included, “It is an exceptional work that surrounds students with a seamless integration of programmatic goals, energy efficiency, and creative tectonics.”

Harvey Gantt, FAIA (1965), received the 2013 Whitney Young Jr. Award for his leadership as an agent of social change, as a noted civil rights pioneer, public servant, and award-winning architect. “We believe there has been no other AIA member who has contributed more to the social fabric of our society throughout his lifetime than Harvey Gantt,” wrote William J. Carpenter, FAIA, and Jane Frederick, FAIA, directors of the AIA South Atlantic Region, in their joint nomination letter. “He has literally opened doors, provided opportunity, and personally mentored generations of design professionals and civic leaders through his life’s work.”

These great examples are the latest in a 100-year legacy of architectural leadership, a legacy that started with the founding of Clemson’s architecture program and its first faculty and students, and lives on through these contemporary accomplishments. We will be celebrating this legacy of leadership this fall, with the concluding events of our centennial celebration. Please attend as many of them as you are able, including the October exhibition in the Lee Hall Gallery, where that 100-year legacy will be explored, honored and celebrated in an ambitious and innovative multi-media exhibit that you will not want to miss. See you there!

Kate Schwennsen, FAIA, Hon. FKIA, Hon. RAIC, Hon. RAIA, Hon. JIA, SFDFC
Professor and Chair


Spring 2013: 100 Years of Buildings, Programs and People That Teach and Reach

By the time you read this edition of the chair’s message, we will have concluded this academic year, and we will be well under way in celebrating our centennial. We sincerely hope that many of you either have or will participate in centennial events, helping us celebrate a century of buildings, programs and people that teach.  

The Spring 2013 edition of the school’s newsletter serves as a brief introduction or reintroduction to the 100-year story of Clemson Architecture’s “Southern Roots + Global Reach.” Centennial events are outlined on page 3, as is Peter Laurence’s essay, “Southern Roots + Global Reach,” which introduces and explains the centennial. Ufuk Ersoy’s essay on pages 6 and 7 starts to tell the story in more depth and place the school in its context. Both of these essays will be included in a major publication to be released in October 2013, together with a month-long exhibit in the Lee Hall Gallery that documents 100 years of buildings, programs and people that teach; 100 years of alumni and student work; and 100 years of the deep and wide influence of Southern roots + global reach. Visit the centennial website to stay up-to-date with centennial events, including the upcoming June 20 Clemson Architecture Alumni Reception at the AIA Convention in Denver, Colo.  

We are using the occasion of this centennial to do something that should have been done long ago—establishing the Clemson Architecture Alumni Achievement Award to recognize outstanding creative and professional achievements of alumni in the field of architecture. This award will be presented each fall semester, with the first class of honorees inducted on October 18, 2013, at our “Southern Roots + Global Reach” symposium and Beaux Arts Ball. In this first class, we hope to recognize alumni from each of the school’s 10 decades of education, (some of these will be posthumous awards), and we need your help in identifying and nominating the best of the best. Please visit the school’s alumni website for a class directory and to place your nominations for these awards. Please also use this portal to share news with us and with your fellow alumni.  

I want to recognize the members of the Architecture Centennial Committee who dug deep to understand 100 years of history from which they discovered and assembled a compelling story that will serve as a foundation to build the school’s future. Special thanks to the following faculty, staff and students: Armando Montilla, Daniel Harding, David Allison, David Pastre, Dylan Hayn, Jeannie Davis, Jerome Reel, John D. Jacques, Jose Cabán, Joy Morgan Newberry, Kathy Edwards, Laura Boykin, Lynn Craig, Ellis Taylor, Nick Barrett, Nicholas Collins, Peter Laurence, Ray Huff, Rick Goodstein, Robert Hogan, Robert Silance, Tim Keesee, Ufuk Ersoy, Ulrike Heine and Valerie Or.  

Kate Schwennsen, FAIA, Hon. FKIA, Hon. RAIC, Hon. RAIA, Hon. JIA, SFDFC 
Professor and Chair


Fall 2012: Southern Roots + Global Reach

100 years ago instruction in architecture first began on the Clemson campus.  Throughout the century since the people of Clemson’s architecture program have made lasting, designed contributions to the communities of the region and the world, a legacy our current students and faculty will no doubt continue.  

This academic year, starting in the spring of 2013, we will hold a yearlong celebration of Clemson’s Centennial of Architecture, during which we will honor the people, programs, and places of the School of Architecture’s past and present, while envisioning the design of its future.  In preparation, we have been “cleaning out our closets”, finding a treasure-trove of artifacts and memories, including 100’s of student projects and boxes of school publications.  Many of these artifacts will find their way into a centennial exhibit and publication.  

A cursory review of these artifacts reveals how much things have changed, but more importantly, how much things stay the same.  The means of communication have changed, from watercolor or graphite on paper, to ink on mylar, to digital projections.  The styles of the architecture have changed, from beaux-arts, to modern, to post-modern, to deconstructivism, to green critical regionalism.  But, through all this change there are powerful consistencies in this school, with its southern roots + global reach.  

• We are innovators.  We incorporate visionary ideals into our work, and are engaged with the critical issues of our time.  

• We are global citizens.  Our graduates have a cultivated understanding of global issues, and are prepared for design leadership, having experienced a geographically rich and distributed Fluid Campus.  

• We work hard, together. Our faculty and students are engaged and collegial, a family that shares and supports its members, excited about its work and passionate about making a difference.  

• We are a design program. We value the conceptual and the technical. We like to get our hands dirty, have a strong appreciation for making and doing, and a determined entrepreneurial spirit.  

• We value our reputation. Our program is widely acknowledged as a high-quality program and an educational value, in exceptional facilities, with graduates who are top performers.  

As we mark this important milestone and grow from these roots, we depend on each of you to continue to extend and enrich our reach.  It’s going to be another great year!  

Kate Schwennsen, FAIA, Hon. FKIA, Hon. RAIC, Hon. RAIA, Hon. JIA, SFDFC
Professor and Chair


Spring 2012: Design with a Big D

kateDesign (with a big "D") is the focus of this Spring 2012 message. Specifically:

  • Design as evidenced in the studio work of our students, at all levels, from all fluid campus locations; and
  • Design as evidence in the principal place of our work, the remarkable new and renovated Lee Hall.

Design is, after all, what we are about. We are a Design school. We value the full range of Design, from the conceptual to the technical. We like and promote big, beautiful, innovative, theoretical ideas, but we have an equally strong proclivity for making and doing, for getting our hands dirty, for actively engaging with real people and places, and with the critical issues of our time. We know that Design done well is a most powerful form of leadership.

These Design values are illustrated in the range of activities and events, and the sample of students and their work illustrated on our website, which is but a small glimpse of the outcomes in the life of this school. From the architectural-artifact-holiday-ornaments in the freshman year to the comprehensive "Design to Zero" competition entries in the final year of the graduate program, the depth and breadth of Design questions being addressed is compelling.

The NAAB visiting team reviewed much more extensive outcomes of the school during their late October 2011 visit. The visit provided a constructive opportunity for self-assessment and improvement, and a very potent affirmation of the school’s programs and priorities. Among their observations, the team noted some unique and important strengths of the school to include:

  • Architectural Education and the Regulatory Environment: Students are provided with excellent preparation for internship and licensure, and a very high percentage of them have the goal of licensure.
  • Architectural Education and the Profession: Students are prepared to not only practice, but to lead in a global economy.
  • Investigative Skills and Applied Research: Students have exemplary abilities.
  • Community and Social Responsibility: Students have excellent understanding of the architect's responsibility to work in the public interest.
  • Fluid Campus: The richness of the opportunities for students to study off-campus is commendable.
  • Architecture + Health: This rigorous education is a program in a class of its own.

And finally, the NAAB team noted the distinctiveness of the physical resources, which we have just recently had the great privilege to inhabit. The new and renovated Lee Hall, by Thomas Phifer and Partners in association with McMillan, Pazdan, Smith Architecture, is exemplary architecture Designed to support exemplary architectural Design education. It's a great time to be at Clemson's School of Architecture!

Thank you to the architects, contractors, craftspeople, collaborators, university administrators, alumni and donors who have made this remarkable new facility possible. We invite all of you to the building dedication on April 13th, 2012. Or, stop by any time to see our new home, and please knock on my door and say hello while you're here.

Kate Schwennsen, FAIA, Hon. FKIA, Hon. RAIC, Hon. RAIA, Hon. JIA, SFDFC
Professor & Chair
Lee 3-126


Fall 2011: Looking Ahead

Kate Schwennsen, Best Chair Ever!At this, the conclusion of my first year in this remarkable School of Architecture, I am energized and optimistic about the future. The scholarship, research and practice engaged in by Architecture students and faculty are exemplary, central to the advancement of our discipline and to Clemson University’s areas of emphasis. Faculty and students are recipients of regional and national design awards and significant sponsored funding in 21st century issues. The institutional setting of a top public, land-grant, research university in the Upstate of South Carolina shapes and supports the innovative, evolving scholarship of this top-20 School of Architecture, a school with dedicated and nimble faculty and students, a vigorous connection with the professional community and a solid foundation upon which to build its future.

As the sole architecture program in South Carolina, this school has built a program of study with an attentive and engaged view of its regional context while seeking a perspective of national and global dimension. Clemson’s School of Architecture is an interconnected, geographically distributed community of teachers and learners dedicated to

  • educating future architects through rigorous and expansive design education and with local and global understanding of firmness, commodity and delight;
  • generating knowledge to address the great challenges of the time, such as health care, ecology and an increasingly digital society, through innovative, interdisciplinary research, practice and scholarship;
  • advocating for the improvement of built, natural and social environments through design activism, public service and public education.

In 1972, Clemson was one of the first architecture programs in the country to establish a satellite program in Europe. Since then, this school has built a Fluid Campus with semester-long opportunities in Clemson, S.C.; Charleston, S.C.; Genova, Italy; and Barcelona, Spain, where students gain a greater understanding of architecture and culture in a “hot, flat and crowded” world. This is true especially here at home in Clemson, where a new 55,000-squarefoot, zero-energy-ready building designed by Thomas Phifer and Partners and McMillan Pazden Smith will provide an inspiring teaching and learning environment starting in the spring semester of 2012.

Architecture has been taught at Clemson for almost a century. Today, the School of Architecture is meeting new challenges through pedagogical and technological advances to provide transformational architectural leadership, shaping the environment of the 21st century for a better future. We‘ve started planning our 100th birthday celebration, and we are looking forward to the school’s next 100 years.

Kate Schwennsen, FAIA, Hon. FKIA, Hon. RAIC, Hon. RAIA, Hon. JIA, SFDFC
Professor and Chair