Oberlin Final

The Hotel at Oberlin, which has its grand opening in mid-September, is a rare bird indeed. It’s a LEED Platinum building in Oberlin, Ohio that’s owned by Oberlin College, one of the most progressive institutes of higher learning in the country.

Yet the shape — and design metaphor — is that of a whimsical tree house, as envisioned by architect Jim Curtin of Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB), the architecture, interior design, and planning firm that designed it and practices nationally from offices in Chicago and San Francisco.

“The building had to be visually engaging because of the artistically rich legacy of Oberlin College,” says Curtin. “The central design metaphor is the image of a tree house, as demonstrated by the lofted program elements and surrounding landscape. The canted columns supporting the ballroom, with views to historic Tappan Square, are analogous to tree trunks, designed to be playful while reinforcing the sustainable nature of the building.”

We think it gives new meaning to the term “higher education.”