Who: Swarthmore College
Where: Swarthmore, PA
What: Historic Observatory Renovation Into New Intercultural Center
When: August, 2018
Summary: Hugo & Hoby worked with Swarthmore College and Cicada Architects to design highly custom designs for the new Intercultural Center at Swarthmore College - located in the renovated Sproul Observatory, which served as an observatory for over 100 years at the college. For example, Hugo & Hoby worked to design a piece that would cover the concrete plinth that once supported the 50K telescope above it. Removing the telescope from the building was a massive feat in itself and removing the concrete plinth was prohibitively expensive and cumbersome, so it was decided to keep the plinth as a central design in the room. The giant 15 ft x 12ft White Ash tabletop you see in the photos, which was placed atop the concrete plinth is a design that is plainly beautiful and has an amazing backstory. The tabletop was made entirely from a single salvaged urban white ash tree from New Haven, Connecticut. We added copper and walnut inlays representing the planets and stars studied by Swarthmore astronomers. The walnut stools that line the table’s edge and live edge circular table are made from salvaged urban walnut and hand-welded steel frames with a patina finish. The large tables in the new kitchen/dining area are also from reclaimed oak salvaged from New England.
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