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A Message from our Director, Kate Schwennsen, FAIA

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


Meet our Director

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.

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Find past messages from our Director here.