Clemson University Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business

Clemson, South Carolina

Project Size:

160,000 square feet

Project Status:

Completed 2020


Education Design

Associate Architect:


Clemson University is among the top 20 national public universities, recognized for innovations that enhance students’ access to knowledge and opportunities for academic success. The College of Business’ transformation highlights this direction with a new 162,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art building promoting collaboration, research, interaction with industry, and the flexibility to adapt to ongoing advances in technology and 21st century learning. Both in and out of the classroom, this open and transparent facility anticipates the future – redefining Clemson’s historic campus and establishing a new destination for business education.

Site and Program
Featured prominently at the highest point on campus, the five-story College of Business creates a gateway for Clemson University that announces arrival with a precedent for social and intellectual interaction. The first new academic building in 100 years, it anchors Clemson’s historic heart as part of a planned expansion embracing the surrounding campus and creating a 24/7 hub for student activities. A grand public stair flows between the complex’s north and south wings to draw movement westward and down from nearby residences into the campus’ historic core, featuring the venerable Bowman Field and Tillman Hall. Built directly into the hillside, the project welcomes students on three levels and opens to Bowman Field at its base, where classrooms link to daily campus life. Above grade, the project reaches skyward to dramatic effect, as spacious, daylight-filled common areas inspire students, faculty and community partners to explore possibilities together.

This technology-rich, immersive educational experience stands out as the newest member on campus with an expansive glass façade, high ceilings and grand, connecting stairway illuminating an entrepreneurial focus. Elevating recognition, recruitment and rankings, the complex prepares students to enter today’s competitive marketplace as leaders. Like a modern workplace, a mix of formal and informal spaces encourage hands-on participation through chance encounters, focused study, team collaboration, research laboratories and group presentations, as well as the amenities to come and stay all day, including food service and lounge areas. A combination of tiered, flat, flexible and high-tech classrooms are based on a common module to allow for pedagogical change over time; interaction spaces and landscaped areas outdoors invite ongoing discussion beyond the classrooms. Environments simulating real world experiences in sales and financial trading, as well as a designated business incubator, strengthen the chance to join forces with the professional community and launch students’ careers. Honoring the past and looking to the future, the building’s brick façade respects its larger historic context, while modern construction technology allows for maximizing both transparency and energy efficiency – emphasizing daylight, views, and the college’s new outward focus.