College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities

Centennial Celebration


Grassroots Exhibit

In response to the Centennial Celebration of Clemson's School Architecture, the Grassroots exhibit engaged those who defined the program's unique history and simultaneuously projected that history to current faculty, students and visitors. Explore the publication here.



100 Years of Clemson Architecture:
Southern Roots + Global Reach

Since its first year of instruction in 1913, architectural education at Clemson has been mindful of its geographies — its connections and relationships to both the state of South Carolina and to the wider world.

rudolph-leeAlready looking beyond state borders, Rudolph Lee (1874-1959) established architectural education at Clemson to answer “an increasing demand in the South for men trained in architectural design, building construction and allied subjects.” Like this mission, Lee had Southern roots: Born in nearby Anderson, S.C., he was an engineering graduate of Clemson’s first class of 1896. However, studies also took him to Cornell and the University of Pennsylvania. The combination of polytechnic and Beaux-Arts training and awareness of national developments in architectural education informed the development of degree programs and faculty hires during Lee’s tenure, which spanned from 1896 to 1948. During these years, faculty were trained at Clemson and Northeast schools, like Lee, and also in Europe. Similar to Lee’s description of his new engineering building (now Riggs Hall) in 1927, architecture at Clemson was primarily a “Southern product, largely of our own state materials.” However, the materials came together to create a building with global reach: the building’s inspirations, Lee noted, were “the villas of Rome and Florence, of sunny Italy.”

Italianate Riggs Hall would be home for the Department of Architecture from 1933 until the opening of Lee Hall in 1958. Representing growth and disciplinary independence, the new building coincided with the establishment of the School of Architecture. Designed by Harlan McClure, who served as director and dean from 1955 to 1984, Lee Hall symbolized the modernization of the school, the college and the state. The move from Beaux-Arts Riggs Hall to modernist Lee Hall — a shift, in retrospect, from one international style to another — did not change the school’s geographic networks.

harlan-mcclureBorn in Chattanooga, Tenn., Harlan McClure (1916-2001) had Southern roots and a broad intellectual horizon. With degrees from George Washington University and MIT, McClure studied at the Royal Swedish Academy and taught at the Architectural Association in London before leaving the University of Minnesota for Clemson. As dean, he hired faculty educated at Clemson, across the U.S. and overseas. His creation of the Clemson Architectural Foundation advanced the similar mission of bringing distinguished thinkers to the school from around the world. In 1972, McClure would take the decisive step of establishing the Daniel Center (“the Villa”) in Genoa, Italy, the first satellite of the school’s “Fluid Campus.”

The decades following McClure’s direction have seen the continued growth of the school, in Clemson and beyond, under new leadership. The Clemson Architecture Center in Charleston, celebrating its 25th year, was established in 1988 by then Dean James F. Barker, FAIA (’70). A decade later, department chair José Cabán (’67) established the school’s third urban center in Barcelona. Forty years since the first group of students occupied the Villa, thousands more have expanded their Clemson roots through the global reach of the Fluid Campus.

Today, a geographically diverse faculty and student body study architecture in great works of architecture, including the new and award-winning Lee III, on four fluidly connected campuses. As its faculty, students and buildings have in the past, Clemson’s School of Architecture draws in and reaches out to distant horizons from Southern roots. 

by Peter L. Laurence, Ph.D., assistant professor

Fluid Campus Celebrations

As the School of Architecture celebrates its centennial year, we take special pride in being a leader in architectural education. Our unique concept of the Fluid Campus is open to both undergraduate and graduate students and supported by generous financial assistance from numerous benefactors, and this has made Clemson architecture a leader in the field of international study.

Along with the centennial, the School of Architecture celebrates the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Genoa program, the 25th anniversary of the Clemson Architecture Center in Charleston and the 13th anniversary of the Barcelona program. Together, Clemson’s off-campus centers are home to some 50 students every semester, which is an indicator of the University’s drive as a leader in architectural education.

villa-at-40 cacc-at-25bac-at-13

Centennial Events

All lectures in the 2013 series will be given by individuals who have a connection to Clemson’s School of Architecture — alumni, former teachers and friends. Sponsored by the Clemson Advancement Foundation for Design and Building and the School of Architecture.

February 8, 2013: CAF/Architecture 100 Lecture
HANS HERRMANN (Clemson M.Arch. 2003)
Lee Hall, 1:30pm 

February 22, 2013: CAF/Architecture 100 Lecture
SETH MCDOWELL (Clemson B.S. Arch. 2003)
Lee Hall, 1:30pm 

March 8, 2013: CAF/Architecture 100 Lecture
XAVIER COSTA, Ph.D. (Clemson Mickel Visiting Professor 1998)
Lee Hall, 1:30pm 

March 25, 2013: Symposia and receptions in Genoa, Clemson, Charleston and Barcelona
Celebrating four decades of life-changing education at the Charles E. Daniel Center for Building Research and Urban Studies in Genoa. Join us at noon on Monday, March 25, 2013, in the Lee Hall Courtyard in Clemson.
Tribute + Address at noon
Click for more information

April 5, 2013: CAF/Architecture 100 Lecture
PATRICIO DEL REAL (Clemson assistant professor, 1999–2003)
Lee Hall, 1:30pm 

April 19, 2013: CAF/Architecture 100 Lecture
HARVEY B. GANTT, FAIA (Clemson B.Arch. 1965 with honors)
Lee Hall, 1:30pm 

May 1, 2013: Reception in Charleston, S.C.
Celebrate 25 years of engaged urban architecture education at the Clemson Architecture Center in Charleston (CAC.C). Join us for an evening reception hosted by the CAC.C.

May 3, 2013: CAC.C-hosted sessions of the SCAIA Annual Conference
Learn about the teaching, research and community outreach of the Clemson Architecture Center in Charleston (CAC.C), and the new Spaulding Paolozzi Center to be built at the corner of Meeting and George streets. Events held in conjunction with the AIASC Centennial Conference.

August 22–23, 2013: Symposium, reception and address
Chautauqua 4.0 examines “Health Care Architecture in the Public Realm” with keynote speaker John Pangrazio of NBBJ, a reception and special lecture by Michael Murphy of MASS.

September 30–October 30, 2013: Exhibition
A monthlong exhibition in the Lee Gallery to explore and honor the people, themes and stories of the past century.

October 18, 2013: Symposium
A daylong symposium featuring talks by Marlon Blackwell, Merrill Elam, and Frank Harmon, and a keynote lecture by Alexander Tzonis and Liane Lefaivre on “The Architecture of Regionalism in the Age of Globalization.” 

October 18, 2013: Celebration
A formal reception in Lee III, the new Thomas Phifer addition to Lee Hall.