Clemson University, Lee Hall College of Architecture

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Clemson University, Lee Hall College of Architecture | Notes of Interest

Located in the rolling foothills of the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains in upstate South Carolina, the addition to the Lee Hall College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities at Clemson University is carefully sited adjacent to a greenbelt of open spaces that run through the center of campus. The eastern edge of the new addition closely follows the natural formation of a densely wooded ridge. The elevated position of the site affords dramatic views to the surrounding landscape.

An ultra-energy-efficient building, the 55,000-square-foot addition was conceived to accommodate the expanding needs of the college, which includes twelve professional degree programs in the four departments of art, architecture, construction science and management, and planning and landscape architecture. It was discovered early in the design process that all of these programs form a close-knit community with a rich culture of collaboration.

To cultivate this sense of community in the new addition, design studios, faculty offices, and classrooms within the different degree programs are intermingled in an open plan to generate an environment for “cross pollination” between programs and disciplines, allowing students to learn from other students and faculty through informal creative exchanges. Proximity and transparency are supported with carefully detailed glazing between interior program elements, which produces dynamic visual connections throughout the facility.

Transparency is also employed on the exterior facades to blur the line between the natural world and the interior environment. This connection to the exterior is enhanced through operable motorized windows, which are opened when exterior conditions allow the mechanical systems to be shut off completely. The exterior space to the north of the Lee Hall addition is carefully proportioned and intentionally flexible to foster full-scale fabrications, which further encourage informal learning through curiosity and observation. On the south side of the Lee Hall addition, a garden with a closely spaced bosk of trees provides an area for contemplative study and smaller gatherings.

Additional Credit

  • Associate Architect: McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture
  • Engineer – Civil: Dutton Engineering
  • Engineer – Mechanical: Talbot and Associates
  • Engineer – Structural: Skidmore, Owings and Merrill
  • Environmental Consultant: Transsolar
  • General Contractor: Holder Construction
  • Landscape Architect: Pond and Company

Photo Credit

    © Scott Frances/Otto

Clemson University, Lee Hall College of Architecture

  • Architect: Thomas Phifer and Partners
  • Owner: Clemson University, College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities
  • Location: Clemson, South Carolina

Jury Comments

The rigorous clarity in the organization and assembly of this building is perfectly suited to an educational environment for architecture.

It is an exceptional work that surrounds students with a seamless integration of programmatic goals, energy efficiency, and creative tectonics.

The lighting systems and dynamism of the structure will serve as great teaching tools for students.

Amazing details/textures/light-shadow play/expressive systems lend themselves to a fantastic quality of space.

More about Clemson University, Lee Hall College of Architecture.

2013 Institute Honor Awards for Architecture Jury

  • Mary Katherine Lanzillotta, FAIA (Chair)
  • Hartman-Cox Architects, Washington, DC
  • Brian Fitzsimmons, AIA
  • Fitzsimmons Architects, Oklahoma City
  • John Kane, FAIA
  • Architekton, Tempe, Arizona
  • William Leddy, FAIA
  • Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects, San Francisco
  • Philip Loheed, AIA
  • BTA Architects, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Robert Maschke, AIA
  • robert maschke ARCHITECTS inc., Cleveland
  • Douglas L. Milburn, Assoc. AIA
  • Isaksen Glerum Wachter LLC, Urbana, Illinois
  • Becky Joyce Yannes, AIAS Representative
  • Drexel University, Philadelphia

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