Georgia Institute of Technology Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons

NV5 has been involved with Georgia Tech’s library revolution since 2005 when we were first engaged to upgrade the main floor of the Crosland tower, infusing technology into renovated space with flexible furniture to support social learning activities. The new East Library Commons provided open group computer-based research, relaxed study space, a café, and a full-featured multimedia theater for showcasing student films and audiovisual art, book readings, and guest lectures. Two years following that initial assignment, the campus reengaged NV5 for technology design on the celebrated 230,000 GSF Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons (CULC), a project over ten years in development. A driving vision was to bring together freshmen and sophomores with faculty in a central facility that supports social and collaborative learning. It is equipped with technology necessary to provide skills and tools necessary for both students and faculty to acquire, evaluate, and present information relevant to their needs.

Setting this building apart is the unique environment outside of the traditional classroom, where collaborative and technologically-enhanced teaching and learning opportunities take place. Beyond ample wireless network access, interactive flat panel displays provide wayfinding and a building dashboard showcasing the building’s energy saving features which include a 1.4M gallon cistern and photovoltaics. Breakout rooms, tutoring and academic guidance, computer retail and repair facility, and rehearsal space with digital recording encourage students to linger and interact. Managed by library staff, the facility touts 700 commons-area seats including a large green roof with skyline views of midtown Atlanta. More traditional learning takes place in high-tech classrooms, ranging from intimate seminar settings to tiered lecture halls seating hundreds, many supporting Tech’s advanced broadcast production-style distance learning. Several studio classrooms feature innovative group seating with flat panel displays and collaborative wireless technologies. Physical security systems are extensive, with all 50+ classrooms and labs incorporating card access. After-hours access to classrooms is extended to students through a reservation system integrated with course management, separate from lab access control. The 24/7 operations balances a safe and secure environment within an urban location.

The next forward-looking project currently underway is a comprehensive renewal of both interconnected main library buildings adjacent to the CULC, an additional 230,000 GSF. NV5 is helping the campus realize a new, more people-centric and intensive activity facility that extends services to graduates, post-docs, and faculty with additional meeting space, academic resource and group study space. By locating 90% of its large collections of books to an off-site facility, the effort re-purposes the space for new and more intensive activities (from collection warehouse to “people space”), making more effective use of these core campus building assets on prime campus real estate. Reimagined as a state-of-the-art 21st Century Research Library, these major upgrades will extend the life of the building another 50+ years.


Atlanta, GA


Bohlin Cywinski Jackson; FDG Architects + Engineers


Key Facts

  • 230,000 GSF
  • Budget $93M