Clemson University has signaled that it means business when it comes to attracting the best and the brightest with the completion of its new Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business in the heart of campus. The future-focused facility offers a collaborative, inspiring space for students and educators alike, while also facilitating enhanced interface between academics and industry. Designed as a think tank/collision space environment that cultivates social and intellectual interaction, the five-story, 176,000-sq.-ft. facility more than doubles the space the College of Business formerly occupied in Sirrine Hall since 1938. In addition to numerous technology-equipped classrooms and learning laboratories, it houses a trading floor, faculty and staff support offices, the college’s institutes and many shared learning spaces. The predominantly brick and glass twin towers structure features an open design with a soaring five-story atrium. The North and South towers are connected above ground by an expansive outdoor stairway and two interior hallways on the ground and first floors. The outdoor stairway leads to a plaza that overlooks the historic Old Main clock tower and Bowman Field. Some have referred to this new stair as the “Spanish Steps of Clemson”.
With students just arriving for the fall semester it has already become the grand gathering space the designers hoped to achieve. Casting a clear eye to the future, the Clemson University College of Business building is a showcase of innovation, technology and flexibility, allowing easy adaptation to advancements in instructional methods down the road. Innovation and technology played an integral role in the design and construction of the project as well. DPR deployed an array of virtual design and construction (VDC) tools, from a high level of BIM and virtual reality walkthroughs that allowed for input by end users during construction, to 4D scheduling in the field, virtual skin mockups and much more. DPR SPW crews self-performed several components of work, including drywall, doors/frames/hardware, ACT and accessories. The building also achieved a very high level of sustainability thanks to many cutting-edge features including electronic dynamic glass, harvested wood components and a sophisticated HVAC control system. The building achieved a 3 Green Globes rating in September under the Green Building Initiatives rating system.