The Inn at Swarthmore

Located at the center of Swarthmore village and at the edge of the Swarthmore College campus, the 45,000-sf mixed-use Swarthmore Town Center West complex includes the boutique, 40-room Inn at Swarthmore; 3,500 sf of meeting and event banquet facilities; the Swarthmore Campus + Community bookstore; and the 100-seat farm-to-table restaurant, Broad Table Tavern. Serving as a new Swarthmore College portal and gathering place for visitors, alumni, and community, the project reflects the college’s Quaker tradition and complements the pedestrian scale of the existing borough retail village.

Cope Linder Architects provided master planning and architectural design to help realize the comprehensive project, earning the commission in part by presenting a master planning strategy that fosters community engagement. Innovative design and construction articulate the college’s commitment to sustainability. A hybrid wood and steel structure features an efficient, high-performance building envelope; indigenous landscaping and storm water management enhance the site. The three-story building was designed to LEED Silver standards and is pending certification under the LEED v2009 for New Construction Rating System.

The architectural design takes inspiration from Quaker simplicity, with clean lines and modest detailing. Much of the interior finish wood is white oak reclaimed from the site. The Inn’s artwork collection was produced entirely by Swarthmore art students and alumni.

The award-winning planning strategy established a new southern portal for campus by reworking vehicle and pedestrian pathways to create safer, more inviting access between the college and Borough of Swarthmore’s retail and regional rail station. Traffic engineer McMahon & Associates realigned Route 320 and incorporated a new traffic circle. The Inn responds to the circle as a distinctive place-making element. Clear traffic lanes, crosswalks, and green space invite interaction and opportunities for engagement, while ensuring a safer pedestrian environment. The transit-oriented development establishes a physical and social link between town and gown.

CLA led a team of consultants and collaborators including Floss Barber, Inc. (inn and public space interior design), DAS Architects (tavern interior design), Simon Tickell, AIA (design consulting for exterior architecture), Rob Berlin (bookstore interior design), Grenald Waldron Associates (lighting design), Bruce E. Brooks & Associates (MEP engineering), Gilmore & Associates, Inc. (civil engineering), McMahon Associates (traffic engineering), A.W. Lookup Corporation (structural engineering), W.S. Cumby (construction management), and Facade Group (façade consulting). Aegis Property Group served as owner’s representative.

Award: 2016 Delaware County Planning Commission William H. Bates Memorial Award for Outstanding Land Development

Owner / Client: Swarthmore College

Inn at Swarthmore Operator: The Olympia Companies