University of Charleston | The Clay Tower

Charleston, WV

The Clay Tower, which houses a library and natural sciences facilities, answered the University of Charleston’s need to reinforce its image as a growing institution on the cutting edge of university teaching. The building design features a tower that has become a recognizable symbol for the University, given its dramatic location and high visibility. The Charleston Gazette called The Clay Tower an “instant landmark” and the architecture has become “logo”; its image now adorns the University letterhead, business communications and other publications.

Schoenbaum Library, part of The Clay Tower, is a full undergraduate library facility. It includes circulation areas, archives and rare book areas, stacks, group study rooms, reading spaces and all of the functional necessities of a modern library program at the university level.

The Clay Tower also contains the computer science department, electronic classrooms, distance learning/lecture spaces and all new undergraduate science laboratories. The architecture springs from the 1948 Art Deco antecedent known as Riggleman Hall, married with the unique needs of a contemporary science laboratory facility.

The height, at 7 stories, was a function of limited land. The glass masonry tower extends into the front yard to engage the pedestrian and give a sculptured effect in contrast to the otherwise flat facades of the existing buildings.

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