Download Adobe Reader

Past Messages from our Director, Kate Schwennsen, FAIA

Fall 2017: This I Believe

The 2017/18 academic year in Clemson and Charleston began with a total solar eclipse. Can you believe it? It was an extraordinary welcome back to all of us who were returning and those who were new to the creative and collegial culture that pervades Lee Hall, the Clemson Design Center in Charleston (CDC.C), the Daniel Center in Genoa, and the Barcelona Architecture Center!

We also began this academic year as an enlarged and re-invigorated community. The faculty, students, staff and programs of Landscape Architecture have been moved from a stand-alone department into the School of Architecture, joining the programs in Architecture, Historic Preservation and Resilient Urban Design. This administrative reorganization builds on shared values, interests, needs, priorities, and resources, providing more seamless and robust collaborative opportunities across and within disciplines. There is palpable new energy in our studios and offices, as we redefine ourselves and our beliefs as a more diverse and inclusive community of designers and preservationists, as we look forward with arms outstretched and minds wide open.

On that amazing day of the total eclipse, broadcast journalist Jay Allison provided an inspiring university convocation lecture, recounting some of the essays in “This I Believe”. The book served as the university’s summer reading assignment for freshmen, and should be familiar to others of you as a recurring program on National Public Radio. Jay’s talk was a reminder of the power of holding beliefs, but as importantly, the importance of clarifying and stating those beliefs. The School of Architecture has a set of core beliefs, agreed to by the faculty, which guide all that we do in our teaching, research and service missions, and which are foundational to our culture. I share these beliefs below, to remind each of us of the values that bind us and guide us.

As students, faculty and staff in Clemson’s School of Architecture, WE BELIEVE in:

EXCELLENCE: Supporting and celebrating a culture of high expectations in all processes and products, rewarding innovation, creativity, critical thinking, craft & making, and intellectual curiosity.

INCLUSIVITY: Actively seeking and sustaining the participation of people in the school with different places of origin, points of view, and ways of knowing.

COLLEGIALITY: Cooperatively working independently and collectively, encouraging individual achievement, collaboration, open discourse and shared decision-making.

ACCOUNTABILITY: Taking responsibility for the consequences of our actions on each other, our many constituents, the planet and the future.

LEGACY: Designing the future upon an understanding and respect for the past, our unique heritage of peoples and places.

CONNECTIVITY: Enjoying and optimizing the contributions of all constituents and locations, from students to alumni, faculty to industry partners, Clemson to Genoa, Charleston to Barcelona, and all points in between.

We look forward to working together in using these beliefs to advance our disciplines to achieve another of my core beliefs: I believe in the power of the designed and built environment to make a positive difference in the lives of everyone, and in the potential of each of us to make a difference.

Kate Schwennsen

Kate Schwennsen, FAIA
Director + Professor


Spring 2017: Embracing and prioritizing multiple paths to and through architecture

Developing leaders is front and center in the School of Architecture's mission.  The School of Architecture aims to be a premier producer of transformational architectural leadership, shaping the environment of the 21st century for a better future.

One of the primary strategies for achieving this mission is to offer students as much choice as possible to design their own paths, allowing them to gain individual breadth and/or depth in their degree programs. Students in the undergraduate BA program chart their individual paths through their choice of minor, fluid studio options and off-campus study locations. In the graduate programs, some students seek to focus their studies in the highly respected Architecture + Health program. Others focus their interests in the Architecture + CommunityBUILD certificate program or Digital Ecologies certificate program. Some spend one or two semesters in Charleston, Barcelona, or Genoa. Others pursue up to 12 credit hours of elective coursework (nearly one semester) outside of architecture in another discipline. The fluid studios, semesters 4 and 5 of the 6-semester M.Arch I are elective, on- and off-campus, and often vertical and multi-disciplinary, engaging allied disciplines.  This choice and variety enriches our pedagogy and research, and launches our graduates as critical thinkers with unique ambitions, experiences and expertise. 

This year the school has embraced even more paths, with the creation of the Clemson Design Center in Charleston, CDC.C. Until recently, the programs of the Clemson Architecture Center in Charleston and the Master of Science in Historic Preservation were housed in three locations across the Charleston peninsula. Renovated space in the Cigar Factory on East Bay Street brings them together, offering abundant new opportunities for collaboration and engagement. As part of the physical consolidation of programs, the Master of Science in Historic Preservation program, previously part of the Department of Planning, Development and Preservation, has become a program of the School of Architecture. This two-year graduate degree program, jointly administered by Clemson and the College of Charleston, provides yet another path to and through architecture.

The new Clemson Design Center in Charleston (CDC.C) includes studio space, classrooms, seminar rooms, laboratories, library, multipurpose space, shop spaces, faculty and staff offices, with space for up to 100 students. The center includes an expansion of Clemson's undergraduate and graduate programs in architecture and landscape architecture, including an expansion of the graduate program in Architecture + Health, an expansion of the Center for Health Facilities Design and Testing (in conjunction with the Medical University of South Carolina) and a new 45-credit master's degree program in resilient urban design, MRUD. We are accepting applications to the MRUD program for its first offering in the fall of 2017, while we are concurrently searching for a founding faculty director of this program. The CDC.C is also the nexus of Clemson's NCARB Accepted Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure (IPAL) program, which has started taking applications.

Back in Clemson, another path is being developed in collaboration with our colleagues in Construction Science and Management. Collaborating faculty from both departments have developed a 4-course, 12-credit post-professional Integrated Project Delivery certificate program. The first of these courses will be piloted in the fall, and pending all necessary approvals the program will be formally launched in the next academic year, available via online delivery for post-professionals, and as yet another elective path for degree-seeking students.

As we prepare for our next NAAB accreditation visit in April of 2017, we understand that this multiplicity of paths makes our story a little bit more complicated to tell and to understand. But, we are committed to our mission, and are confident that by embracing and prioritizing multiple paths to and through architecture, we are producing transformational architectural leadership, and thereby contributing to shaping the environment of the 21st century for a better future.

Kate Schwennsen

Kate Schwennsen, FAIA
Director + Professor


Spring 2016: Indigo Pine's Sustainable Lessons

This has been a year of many notable accomplishments, but most notably it’s been the year of Indigo Pine.  Clemson’s entry into the 2015 Solar Decathlon was remarkable for its innovation and accomplishments, placing 6th overall, 2nd in Architecture, 2nd in Communications, 3rd in Market Appeal, 4th in Affordability and 5th in Engineering.  From my own visit to the competition, where I spent much time swinging on the Indigo Pine front porch swing listening to comments from the thousands of visitors, I am positive that Indigo Pine placed 1st in the “People’s Choice”.  Visitors were incredibly impressed with the house’s design and with our students’ southern hospitality.

Unlike any other team, the Clemson team built their house from the ground up on site, piece by piece, and was one of the very few teams to build without the help of outside, professional contractors.  Team Clemson truly raised the bar for the U.S. DOE Solar Decathlon, as noted by Tom Meyer, DOE building inspector. 

“Occasionally I have a team during a Decathlon that seems to perform at a level well above average.  Without a doubt, your team was the most well managed and well organized that I have seen in my entire 11-year career with NREL and SD events.  Despite the complexity and sheer volume of work your team had to accomplish, you all managed to accomplish it easily…”

The competition was great, but the teaching, learning and research of Indigo Pine did not stop with the end of the Solar D.  The affects and benefits of Indigo Pine are long-lasting and sustainable, with multiple things moving forward.

IPE (Indigo Pine East, the beta house), remains at the SC Botanical Garden, and is serving as an interactive educational space on the Indigo Pine, the garden and many issues around sustainability.  IPW (Indigo Pine West, the competition house), has become IPD, Indigo Pine in the PeeDee.  The pods with all of the parts and pieces of IPW, (except the porch) are in Florence, awaiting reconstruction over the summer by students, for students.  Oh, and the porch?  It was left behind to be reconstructed as a birdwatching trail insertion at and by the Newport Banning Land Trust, supporters and co-tenants of the IPW team in Costa Mesa, CA.

The project team continues to receive recognition, long past the DOE competition.  In February, the Indigo Pine team received four awards from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) for its communications and marketing, graphic design, branding and identity.  The faculty team is advancing their research, and disseminating what they’ve learned.  They already know that they’ll be presenting their work at the World Conference on Timber Engineering in Vienna, Austria in late August, and the Sustainable Futures Conference in Nairobi, Kenya in September.  The SimPLY system has significant potential as a commercial building system.  The Clemson University Research Foundation, on behalf of the IP faculty team, has initiated the filing process for licensing of SimPLY as intellectual property, ie, it is patent-worthy.

But no doubt the most important outcome of Indigo Pine is the lessons it has taught us about how best to teach and learn and advance design in the 21st century.  The wicked problems of our times, including sustainable design, demand nimble, creative, vertical, multi- and intra-disciplinary fluid teams of teachers and learners, bringing totally innovative thinking to address amazingly complex issues.  For the IP team it was never just about the house.  It was and is about developing great thinkers, using the design process to make a positive difference in the world.  The process is more important than the product, the journey more impactful than the destination.

Thank you to all of the students, faculty, staff, and of course, donors who participated in this project.


Fall 2015: The Fluid Campus: Transformational Education

The Fluid Campus refers to the School of Architecture’s geographically distributed learning opportunities, the integration of these opportunities within our degree-earning graduate and undergraduate curricula, and the fluidity of communication and work practices between our centers.  The Fluid Campus includes all four of our permanent locations, (Clemson, Charleston, Genoa and Barcelona), and all of our unique degree options, the latter of which is often connected to the unique opportunities of location and faculty at those locations.  The Fluid Campus is at its core about providing students with choices that allow them to define their own unique academic experience, on their way to being leaders, designers, and global citizen architects.

I had the pleasure of accompanying Executive Vice President and Provost Bob Jones, his wife Jeri, AAH Dean Richard Goodstein and his wife Cissie, Charley and Rachelle Mickel and officers and trustees of the Clemson Architectural Foundation to visit our students and faculty in Barcelona and Genoa over spring break.  It was an excellent opportunity to introduce our new provost and the Mickels to these defining programs of our school, and for the rest of us to re-engage with the faculty, staff and students of these programs.  I was very proud to show off our facilities, faculty and students, who were remarkable hosts during reviews, tours, and celebrations.

It was very special to be in the company of the Mickels for their first visit to the Daniel Center for Building Research and Urban Studies in Genoa, (the Villa).  Charley’s father, Buck Mickel, was one of the guarantors of the Daniel Center, “dedicated individuals whose generous personal financial commitments made it possible for generations of students to live and learn” at the villa.  During our visit we remembered these guarantors, with an unveiling of a marble plaque, the creation of which was spearheaded by guarantor Frank Lucas, FAIA.

As any of you know who have studied off-campus for a semester of immersion in another place and culture, it is a transformational educational experience.  Students return from their semesters away much older, wiser, independent, empathetic, confident, curious, knowledgeable and observant.  There is no substitute for these experiences.  Our Fluid Campus is an enviable collection of extraordinary places, programs, faculty and staff, students and supporters.  Many of these supporters have come to be supporters because they are alumni of the Fluid Campus, and know how much it has enriched their lives.  There is no greater testimonial.


Spring 2015:  Creating Energy

It is an amazing privilege to live one’s life surrounded by the creative energy, optimism and ambition of architecture students and faculty.  Each day I walk into my office and am inspired by the buzz of activities and possibilities in Lee Hall, but perhaps never as much as I’m being inspired by the work of the Indigo Pine team.

Over two years ago, when our faculty and students first began discussing the possibility of submitting a proposal to compete in the DOE’s 2015 Solar Decathlon, I was cautious.  I have “lived through” a Solar D competition project before, and know the significant intellectual, personnel and fiscal resources needed to compete.  There is a danger that a big, multi-year project like this can take away from other efforts, consuming all of the energy and resources of an academic unit.  Our experience with Indigo Pine has been the opposite.  This is a project that is creating energy and activating the entire Clemson family, and far beyond.

As the Indigo Pine team says, “It’s not about the house”.  It’s about the deep, broad collaborative process of creating the house, and the intellectual capital and connections that are being forged by that process.  This is a project that is focused on the people, products, culture and climate of South Carolina.  Our students are learning how to lead collaborative, multi-disciplinary teams toward an original proposal, based on a powerful, collective ideal.  This is a project that is about pushing an idea toward its most extreme and yet obvious conclusions.  The innovation of this house, in its design and delivery systems, is setting a new paradigm for the Solar D competition, and creating intellectual capital for the university, as it seeks to improve the lives of South Carolina families, South Carolina industries, and the planet.  The level of innovation shown in this project impresses even our competitors.

The tri-partite mission of a land-grant university such as Clemson, the mission of teaching, research and extension, is based on a “set of beliefs about the social role of the university”, (Bonnen, James T., “The Land Grant Idea and the Evolving Outreach University, New York:  Garland, 1988).  A land-grant university’s unique importance is as a change agent in society as it creates knowledge and transfers that knowledge through teaching, research and engagement with the peoples of the state and needs of society.  

Indigo Pine is the most powerful of vehicles to accomplish the land-grant mission of Clemson University, and the School of Architecture’s mission to produce transformational architectural leadership, shaping the environment of the 21st century for a better future, by:

  • Educating future architects, through rigorous and expansive design education, with local and global understandings of firmness, commodity and delight;
  • Generating knowledge to address the great challenges of the time, through innovative, interdisciplinary research, practice and scholarship; and
  • Advocating for the improvement of built, natural and social environments, through design activism, public service and public education.

Thank you to all of Indigo Pine’s partners, supporters and volunteers. 


Fall 2014: Making Things and Making a Difference

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.


Spring 2014: Our Second 100 Years

The 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.


Fall 2013: 100+ Years of Architectural Leadership Celebrated

In 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!


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.  


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

Design (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.


Fall 2011: Looking Ahead

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.


Director Kate Schwennsen

Kate Schwennsen, FAIA, Professor, is the Director of the School of Architecture, Clemson University.  She joined the Clemson faculty as the school’s chair in August 2010, and has since taken great pleasure in being immersed in the energy, optimism and ambition that permeates Lee Hall, and throughout the school’s Fluid Campus.  She will tell anyone who is willing to listen that every morning when she walks into her office, it just makes her happy.  Kate is a recognized leader in bridging architectural education and practice, and has served in many leadership positions in professional organizations.  Learn more about Kate and her numerous honors and achievements here.