Charleston Home of Clemson Architecture Named for Founder of Spoleto Festival International


Gift raises $2 million

CHARLESTON, S.C. - The future home of Clemson University's architecture program in Charleston will be called the Countess Alicia Spaulding Paolozzi Building. The name becomes official with final approval today from Clemson's board of trustees.

The naming of the building honors the late Countess Alicia Spaulding Paolozzi, who helped launch Spoleto Festival USA, now headquartered across George Street from the building site.

Kennedy & Violich Architecture of Boston is designing the new building. The land for the $7 million project was purchased from the city of Charleston for $1.

The Spaulding-Paolozzi Foundation contributed $1 million to the project. In September, the university will request matching funds through the South Carolina Research Infrastructure Act to make the gift worth $2 million.

The Charleston center, now under the direction of Clemson architecture professor Robert Miller, was created in one of the country's finest urban laboratories for the study of architecture, with a curriculum built around the local environment and actual issues critical to the coastal community.

"The objectives of the Spaulding-Paolozzi Foundation tie directly to the goals of Clemson University," said Clemson President James F. Barker. "Much of the work we do to advance issues regarding the environment, sustainable agriculture, the elderly and women, takes place through our presence in Charleston. It's an honor for us to put the name of such an extraordinary woman on what will become our most visible face in the Lowcountry."

Alicia Spaulding Paolozzi was the Boston-born wife of Count Lorenzo Paolozzi, an Italian architect and artist. She was a philanthropist, activist, businesswoman and racecar driver. At the time of her death in 2002, she had several homes, including one in Charleston.

The Spaulding-Paolozzi Foundation was established to carry on her philanthropic work, especially in the areas of the arts, environment, women and health-related issues.

Foundation board member and Charleston attorney Lester Schwartz said the countess would be thrilled to have her name associated with the building and with the center.

"The idea that these students will be learning about architecture and using their knowledge to help solve those problems she cared so deeply about would please her so much," he said.

"It's appropriate that the Countess Alicia Spaulding Paolozzi Building will share a street with the headquarters of Spoleto Festival USA," said Dean Janice C. Schach of Clemson's College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities. "The building will memorialize her life just as the festival serves as a living tribute to her vision."

An international design competition in 2004 attracted 40 applicants from five countries. Four U.S. firms and one from Spain were selected to submit concept drawings and design options for the project. Those designs were posted on the CACC Web page and displayed in two Charleston locations for several weeks.

The Clemson Architecture Center has been part of the Charleston community since President Barker started the program in 1986, when he was dean of architecture.


Editor's Note: A digital photograph of Countess Alicia Spaulding Paolozzi is available online. To view the photograph, connect to

Information on Countess Alicia Spaulding Paolozzi is available online. Connect to


CLEMSON - The Clemson Architecture Center in Charleston is an important element in the Clemson University School of Architecture's "fluid" campus concept.

In addition to Charleston and the campus in Clemson, the school has centers in Genoa, Italy, and Barcelona, Spain. All architecture and landscape architecture students at the university are encouraged to study off campus at least one semester to gain a better understanding of architecture as a product of both local and global culture.

The Clemson School of Architecture was one of the first to establish a campus overseas when the Charles E. Daniel Center for Building and Urban Studies opened in Genoa in 1972.

"The reason we have one of the most respected architecture programs in the country is the experience our students get while they're here," said Jose Caban, chair of Clemson's School of Architecture. "That experience is so rich because our students spend time touching history and living among the architecture that others only read about in books.

"Our students travel outside the classroom to gain a greater understanding of architecture and its place in culture," he said.

While attending one of the architecture centers, students work on real challenges faced by the local community. They may consider a way to revitalize an under-utilized section of Genoa or how to solve cramped public housing challenges in Barcelona, Europe's most densely populated city.

The Charleston center was established because the city is one of America's finest historic urban centers and a great laboratory for architecture. The center creates a bridge between academia and practice, putting students in an environment that teaches them to think and work in critical practice, according to Robert Miller, director of the center.

"The curriculum is built around the local environment and addresses issues critical to people in Charleston and the surrounding coastal area," Miller said.

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