G. Wayne Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons

Georgia Institute of Technology | Atlanta, Georgia

Spaces to Encourage Student Collaboration

Designed in collaboration with Georgia Tech and Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Architects, the Commons consists of a 220,000 SF, five-story building linked to the current Price Gilbert Library. The project vision was to provide an innovative learning environment for freshmen and sophomore students. The building contains nontraditional classrooms, two 300-seat auditoria, multiple science labs, and student support departments. Services included design visioning, programming and preparation of furniture layouts, budgets and specifications, selection of interior finishes, and the coordination of electrical and audio-visual needs. 

The design goal was to create state-of-the-art classrooms and stimulating, innovative public areas for students. To complement the interior architectural expression of concrete, slat wood, and industrial aesthetics, the design team used bold colors, large scale floor graphics, and furnishings to encourage collaboration between students.

Interactive Learning Environment

Smallwood developed a prototype classroom mockup to assess the function of a “scale up” classroom. After studying this concept, two such classrooms were created. The goal was to create a highly collaborative, hands-on, computer-rich, interactive learning environment for classes ranging from 27-45 students. State-of-the-art lighting incorporated the first eco-remote dimming ballast. Electronic sun shades, custom whiteboards, and multiple LCD screens were also included. The mock-up served as a successful tool for student and teacher feedback as well as a basis of design for the Commons and future buildings.


"They are team players and went above and beyond with their service."


Polly Patton
Facilities Design & Construction
Georgia Institute of Technology

The Americas
Awards & Recognition

Best of the Best Forum Design Awards, Sustainable Category

- IIDA, Georgia Chapter 2013