Document Type


Publication Date



Unbuilt Clemson (slated for publication in Spring 2020 by Clemson University Press) is an in-depth excavation—from institutional records, archival evidence, and oral histories—of selected unrealized building projects throughout the history of campus development and planning at Clemson University, with a focus on projects developed to the building design or site plan stage. Six chapters, a dozen case studies, and 50+ illustrations will span the years 1890-2017, documenting how campus planners both shaped and accommodated Clemson’s evolution from an all-male, cadet-corps “agricultural and mechanical” college to a 21st-century, nationally-ranked Carnegie R-1 institution with an international student body and an expanding global network of government, business, and industry partnerships.

Telling Clemson’s development history through the lens of unbuilt projects reconstitutes a more complete and inclusive institutional biography, one that acknowledges diverging visions, competing priorities and ideologies, rejected possibilities, winners and losers, even lost opportunities on the part of campus leaders, whether faculty, administrators, or benefactors. Central to our narrative is the school’s accelerating pursuit of a ‘campus master plan’/multi-year ‘strategic plan’ ethos, one progressively in sync with the professionalization of both planning and university administration—first nationally, then regionally—starting in the mid-20th century. At the same time, our account never loses sight of the indelible influence Clemson’s plantation legacy continues to exert on the campus environment, physically and ideologically, and the inherent tension between that legacy and the university’s land-grant, public higher education mandate.


Presented at: 2nd Annual Research Symposium, Clemson University Research Foundation, May 10, 2017

Reporting research progress on a SEED-funded book project (2017-2018 grant period).