The higher education market has seen substantial shifts in teaching pedagogy in recent years. When design began for Clemson University’s College of Business in 2015, Clemson wanted to create academic and faculty space with a greater emphasis on collaboration and critical thinking.

With campus cultures rooted in socialization, communal activities, and interdisciplinary collaborations, colleges and universities around the globe face big unknowns in the face of COVID-19 disruptions and recovery. What is known is that higher education in the era of COVID-19 will look significantly different until this pandemic subsides.

Working on the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) campus has been an exciting experience, and one which has challenged me as an architect to explore and implement next-level strategies for sustainable design. Clemson University is deeply committed to building sustainable campus facilities, as evidenced by the recent LEED Gold certification of its Center for Emerging Technologies (CET). The design team had a mandate to achieve at least LEED Silver certification, and by using a holistic, integrated approach to sustainable design from the earliest project stages, we were able to exceed expectations and ultimately achieve LEED Gold status.

Not so long ago, freshman orientation was a daunting experience. A college acceptance letter kicked off a lengthy administrative process: packets of forms to be filled out and submitted in hard copy, followed by long lines for student IDs, parking passes, tuition payments, and financial aid questions. Even registering for classes was an in-person, on-paper chore. Getting set up for your first semester on a new campus could take several days of navigating from building to building, waiting for your turn to submit a form or ask a question. Your first days on campus felt like a prolonged trip to the DMV.

On October 27, Clemson University will break ground on a new leading-edge building for the College of Business. This 176,000 SF building will double the University’s business education space, and will enable the College of Business to build a new paradigm of 21st century learning based on collaboration and creative collisions in our increasingly interconnected world.

Allied health training programs have evolved to meet 21st century needs, and today’s buildings must follow suit. Specialized training facilities blend the best attributes of both higher education and healthcare designs, requiring expertise in both disciplines. In particular, high-fidelity simulation labs offer students the chance to practice clinical skills in a safe, controlled environment.