Clemson University’s Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business wins national design award

December 8, 2022

Photo Credit: Mark Herboth Photography

LS3P announced that the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business at Clemson University garnered an Honorable Mention in the 2022 American Architecture Awards, sponsored by the Chicago Atheneum. LS3P served as Architect of Record for the project, in association with LMN Architects of Seattle, WA as the Design Architect.

The project, the first academic building overlooking a historic campus precinct in over a century, needed to define a new campus gateway and strengthen the “town and gown” connection between the university and the city. The once-in-a-generation opportunity has created a new home for Clemson’s business programs with a building that accommodates diverse learning modalities and honors the past as well as the future. The building fronts historic Bowman Field, where the school’s first athletic event was held in 1896. Good stewardship of this hallowed site was a foundational requirement; intensive stakeholder engagement and input were critical to the process, and the design team conducted research on the history, campus guidelines, architectural context, proportions and fenestration of nearby buildings, and other elements which would inform the design.

Vice President | Principal Scott May, Higher Education Sector Leader in LS3P’s Greenville office, comments: “It was clear from the inception of the project that this building would be a community anchor for this new campus district. The focus on connection and transparency is evident in the welcoming, vibrant gathering spaces that mirror the topography of the site. The flexibility of the building will allow it to adapt to as-yet-unforeseen needs as pedagogies and technologies evolve over time. This is a durable, collaborative, resilient building designed to serve its occupants well into the future.”

The site’s salient attribute, a 40’ hill between Bowman Field and the student residences above, became the greatest challenge and greatest asset. Capitalizing on the dramatic topography, the team envisioned the hill climb as a defining feature akin to the Spanish Steps. The form- a larger volume canted to align with the hill, connected to a linear bar -frames the terraced exterior stair and plazas. The materiality of the design mirrors the hill itself, with grounded concrete elements and earthy tiles forming a metaphorical retaining wall at ground level transitioning to light, airy, upward-reaching materials as the building rises. A veil of white vertical slats in the atrium draws the eye skyward. A monumental interior stair parallels the hill climb, inviting students into the building at various levels as they traverse the hill.


About LS3P

Founded in 1963, LS3P is an architecture, interiors, and planning firm with regional roots and national reach. Operating from its 11 offices in Charleston, Columbia, Greenville, Myrtle Beach, Asheville, Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh, Wilmington, and Savannah, LS3P is deeply committed to the communities in which it serves and has been honored with over 650 design awards in diverse practice areas. For more information on LS3P, visit