Text description provided by the architects. Clemson University’s Watt Family Innovation Center provides a unique environment in which advanced instructional technologies foster student engagement and industry partnerships to address real-world problems. Located on a long, narrow site adjacent to a vibrant and active campus quadrangle, the facility engages passersby and invites students to take ideas from concept to marketplace by the use of its rich program spaces.
The building is massed as two truncated triangles slipping past one another and forming entry points. The west side triangle is more solid to support core facilities and cross-discipline laboratories. The transparent east side opens up and flows into the quadrangle by way of an arcade that creates a north-south pedestrian path with views into an open gallery and atrium space. A roof terrace overlooking the quadrangle is located on the top floor of the east side.
Putting innovation on display is a central aim of the design. Layers of full-glass walls create feelings of openness and a vibrant buzz of activity. At the campus scale, a 210-foot long mesh media display acts as an outward manifestation of the technologically-enabled innovation taking place within the building. The façade creates an impactful digital canvas while still enabling light to penetrate the exterior, allowing views into and out of the center, and acting as a shading device. The Watt Family Innovation Center will enable students to pursue ideas from concept to reality by using 21st Century technology and facilitating interdisciplinary collaboration within an inspiring space.