The Charles E. Daniel Center for Building Research and Urban Studies is perched on a hill above Genoa. Photos courtesy of Kate Schwennsen.


Clemson has provided immersive education in Genoa for 45 years.

The Clemson University architectural program in Genoa, Italy, marked its 45th anniversary with a celebration March 23.

In this milestone year, the “Villa” also received a big gift — a new roof, which was funded by the Clemson Architectural Foundation.

And, like any good house party, it drew some special guests.

Richard E. Goodstein, dean of the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities, and Kate Schwennsen, director of the School of Architecture, were part of a traveling party that included the president of the Clemson Architectural Foundation, Asheley Scott St. John, and other friends of Architecture at Clemson University.

A vision and a view

The Charles E. Daniel Center for Building Research and Urban Studies first opened its doors to Clemson University students in 1973, becoming a home away from home to more than 1500 students over the years.

The historic villa built in 1899 is owned by the Clemson Architectural Foundation (CAF) and operated by the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities and the University.


The Villa in Genoa contains a library, studio space and a large garden.

At the time of its founding, Harlan McClure, dean emeritus of the College of Architecture, imagined a center where students would live and learn together in the heart of a vibrant European city.

And from a hillside perch overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, that’s what almost two dozen Clemson architecture and landscape architecture students can do at once, without losing any traction toward their graduation dates.

The Fluid Campus has become a signature aspect – and required part – of a Clemson education in architecture and landscape architecture. It allows school of architecture students to “flow” from Clemson to a semester at either the Clemson Design Center in Charleston, Genoa, or the Barcelona Architecture Center as part of the curriculum.

“The Fluid Campus is more than just a change of scenery,” Goodstein said. “It is an immersive educational experience that offers new cultural perspectives and a lasting impact.”

Many have been transformed by this experience, including Thomas Phifer, the celebrated architect who designed Lee III and mentioned the “transformative experience of the ‘Villa’ in Genoa” during his acceptance statement for his recent induction into College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities Hall of Fame.

“It is imperative that 21stcentury designers have a global outlook, and our Fluid Campus provides this foundation for our students,” Schwennsen said.

Travel and Transformation

Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia is in Barcelona. Photo courtesy of Richard E. Goodstein.

Like the Clemson students in Genoa who spend roughly a third of their time seeing other locations in Italy, Dean Goodstein, Professor Schwennsen and the CAF group made some stops in between their visit to the Barcelona Architecture Center and the “Villa.”

In Barcelona, they toured the Sant Pau hospital complex, an architectural marvel named a world heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

The group also was given behind-the-scenes tours of Sagrada Familia, where they learned how high-tech scanning and 3-D modeling technology is being implemented in an effort to complete Antoni Gaudi’s intricate and unfinished temple.

On the way to Genoa, they made quick stops in the city of Alba and vineyards in the Piedmont region of Italy. And afterward, they visited the stunning Cinque Terre villages along the coast.

The Fluid Campus journey, however, culminated with the party at the Villa.

The night was a chance to look back at 45 years of Clemson history, meet with current students, and imagine all those who would follow in their footsteps over the years to come.


Dean Goodstein is surrounded by students and other guests at the 45th anniversary celebration of the Charles E. Daniel Center in Genoa.