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Refreshing a legacy

Lehigh University,
Clayton University Center
Bethlehem, PA

The transformative renovation to the Clayton University Center at Lehigh University conveys a graceful nod to the institution’s past, and a bold gesture to the school’s future.

The renewal of Lehigh’s iconic Clayton University Center infuses new life into an outdated facility and positions it as a place for community connection at the heart of the historic campus. This landmark structure, constructed in 1868 and 1956, will be completely overhauled and transformed into multi-use destinations for gathering, dining, and working together.

The iconic exteriors of the 1868 portions of the building will be renewed to maintain the cherished “postcard” campus view from the adjacent lawn. The surrounding campus landscape complements the new life within, inviting University Center activities to spill out onto a series of outdoor terraces and green spaces.

The renewal of the University Center is a central component that defines and furthers Lehigh University’s commitment to inclusivity and creating a welcoming environment for all Lehigh students. The renovation creates spaces that support connections on every level—from being “alone together” to gathering for campus events.

The interior palettes create a quiet and grounded canvas in which students can see themselves and be the life that ignites the building. Open spaces allow activity to be seen throughout, showcasing the carefully curated balance between historic artifacts and the present and future of Lehigh.