The Oculus


It’s Clemson. It’s Tigers. It’s Metal. At Clemson University, Clemson, SC, the west end zone of Clemson Memorial Stadium has a statement piece that is clad in Dri-Design panels. Known as The Oculus of the WestZone Complex, the iconic structure serves as the center of the Clemson Athletic District.

Architect LS3P, Greenville, SC, was asked to renovate the existing west end zone and include a new pedestrian bridge and tower. Logistically this renovation improves safety at the stadium and enhances the fan experience. Physically the Oculus creates a sense of balance with the stadium’s size and provides a logical transition from the pedestrian scale at street level to the multi-level scale of the stadium seating.

For the project LS3P selected 0.080-inch aluminum Dri-Design Painted Aluminum Panels in a Silver color. The metal accentuates the tower while providing a shimmering effect. During the day, sunlight modulates the intensity of the material, and accent lighting causes a dramatic effect at night.

Pickens Roofing Inc., Anderson, SC, installed 21,625 square feet of the panels. Dri-Design panels are a true single skin metal panel system, rather than laminated or composite. Sealants, gaskets, caulk and tape are not needed for Dri-Design installations. This eliminates the potential for streaking. Dri-Design panels are also 100 percent recyclable, available in any painted color, and are sized and detailed to meet the specific requirements of each project.

“A metal panel rainscreen was selected because it could easily be faceted to clad the cylindrical geometry of the tower,” says Jaime Henderson, associate architect with LS3P. “The rainscreen system did not require any sealants or gaskets, which was an important maintenance consideration for a 140-foot-tall tower.”

LS3P also appreciated that Dri-Design panels are an integrated system that does not have separate panel and reveal pieces. This feature allows installations to be completed faster and with increased precision. “The speed of installation proved to be vital, as the project had to be complete by the start of football season,” Henderson says. “Scheduling of scaffolding and other concurrent work mandated a quick installation.”

The Oculus was the final phase of the three-phase WestZone Complex. The 6,000-square-foot addition has four levels and serves as a gateway to the stadium and Tigers pride. This tower complements Tillman Hall bell tower by perfectly aligning along a campus axis.

“Visitors in all directions are directed toward Clemson’s great athletic tradition because of the Oculus,” say Brad Zeeff, president of Dri-Design. “Metal panels add a luminosity to this important structure that allows it to stand out while also bringing balance to the campus. It’s a dramatic statement that required technical expertise and the right product.”

Photographs by Mark Kempf, St. Louis

About Dri-Design

DriDesign_logo_020511Dri-Design was founded in 1995 with the successful development of the Dri-Design® Wall Panel System. The system's panels can be installed over commercial-grade Tyvek onto plywood, or they can be used as a sophisticated outboard-insulation, pressure-equalized rainscreen. The 100% recyclable panels can be manufactured from a variety of materials, including zinc, copper, stainless steel, and painted and anodized aluminum. Panels are available in any Kynar color and are sized and detailed to meet the specific requirements of each project. Unique profiles include: Shadow, Tapered, Perforated, Embossed, Textured, Dri-Design® with Corian® EC, Imaging Technology and Inspire. These options create angles, textures, depth, images and performance that cannot be matched. The Dri-Design® Wall Panel System is Dade County and AAMA 508-07 approved. To learn more about the company's products, visit

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