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Lee Hall Expansion

In January 2012, students and faculty found a new home in Lee III. Although the LEED Gold, zero-energy-ready building is already one of the most energy-efficient classroom buildings in the nation, it was designed to become be a completely "net-zero" energy consumer. This means that it will produce as much energy as it consumes. To complete the transition to zero-energy-operational, CAF seeks funding for a photovoltaic installation and other systems improvements, which will make Lee III become the building that teaches sustainability by example.


The names Lee I, Lee II and Lee III are not an example of an underactive imagination. They are, in fact, three parts of a very carefully planned whole. The original Lee Hall, constructed in 1957-58 as the Structural Science Building, was designed by the late architect and dean of Clemson architecture, Harlan McClure. The building's design was a reflection of McClure's collaborative, open approach to education.

In subsequent decades, Lee Hall became the home of a number of affiliated departments and programs, including the departments of Art, Landscape Architecture, City and Regional Planning, Construction Science and Management (CSM), Real Estate Development, and the PhD program in Planning, Design and the Built Environment (PDBE). Lee Hall was expanded in 1975 to create the addition now known as Lee II, which included the "Grad Tower," the former home of the graduate studios. It was expanded again in 1991.

With the growth of each of the professional degree programs housed in Lee Hall, and space becoming a real issue, it became apparent that it was time for a major change in the Lee Hall complex. A design team for Lee III was established, managed by McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture of Greenville in association with lead design architects Thomas Phifer and Partners from New York City. Holder Construction Company of Atlanta served as construction managers.

In 2010, the National Park Service placed the original Lee Hall on the National Register of Historic Places, and in contrast that same year, ground was broken for Lee III, a 55,000-square-foot building that is now the new home of the graduate architecture studios, faculty and administrative offices, as well as Landscape Architecture and Art studios. The building expansion was dedicated in 2012 in keeping with Clemson’s focus on sustainability. Lee III is zero-energy ready and features a 30,000-square-foot roof garden, external and internal skylights, geothermal wells and natural ventilation, and is often referred to as the building that teaches.


  • Lee III is a 55,000-square-foot addition to Lee Hall, roughly doubling the overall size of the complex.
  • 97.8% of Lee III’s regularly occupied space has views to the outside in multiple directions.
  • Structural steel column trees are made of 10 ¾-inch diameter, one-inch thick seamless steel, typically used for high-pressure lines in the oil industry.
  • 42 geothermal wells are installed to a depth of 440 feet below ground, where the median temperature is 59 degrees. These wells provide heating and cooling to the building’s mechanical system and allow this portion of the Lee Complex to operate without the use of the coal-based campus energy plant.
  • The 30,000-square-foot sedum roof is the largest university garden roof installation in southeastern U.S.
  • Natural light is provided by 53 external and internal skylights. The skylights and window walls minimize the need for lighting during daylight hours.


  • 2011 – LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council
  • 2012 – AIA National Honor Award
  • 2013 – AIA New York Merit Award
  • 2013 – AISC IDEAS2 National Award
  • 2014 – Architectural Digest named Lee III “one of the best in new university architecture around the world”. Nine buildings were so named worldwide – only two others in the U.S.


  • “Architecture matters. This building is a building that teaches its students, faculty and visitors remarkable lessons about the power and beauty of architecture. It is a wonderful place to be, and supports a lively, collaborative, creative culture of high-performing individuals.” ~ Kate Schwennsen, FAIA, Director, School of Architecture ~
  • “We are now poised to realize fully the vision of Lee Hall as ‘the building that teaches.’ In it, students will learn from their teachers, from each other and from the building itself because the new Lee Hall will be a model of sustainable design for the 21st century.” ~ James F. Barker, FAIA, President Emeritus of Clemson University and Professor Emeritus in the School of Architecture ~
  • “Lee III offers fresh insight into the ways that a building embodies the higher aspirations of the activities within. It is a building that is a place for learning, collaboration and ecology. A building that teaches. One building. Lee Hall.” ~ John Jacques, Professor Emeritus of Architecture ~

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Lee III was officially dedicated on 4/13/2012. In this video, John Jacques talks about the expansion and renovation of Lee Hall.


Thomas Phifer discusses Lee III with Architect Magazine after receiving the AIA Honor Award.