Oberlin College Archives


Lewis (Peter B.) Gateway Center




Northeast corner of North Main Street and East College Street


Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB), Chicago, San Francisco (architects)
Albert M. Higley Company, Cleveland, OH (contractor)




Groundbreaking for the new Peter B. Lewis Gateway Center took place on June 12, 2014. The complex includes the 70-room Hotel at Oberlin to replace the 1955 Oberlin Inn, commercial and office space, a culinary training facility, and a restaurant (named 1833, in honor of Oberlin's founding) featuring locally grown and sourced fare. The Center will become the cornerstone of Oberlin's Green Arts District, an ongoing development encompassing the northeast corner of North Main Street and East College Street. The Lewis Gateway Center project is a planned 100,000 square-foot, mixed use development that will incorporate renewable energy systems, and it is designed to meet the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Platinum rating.

Conceived as a catalyst for larger patterns of sustainable development and technological innovation in the Green Arts District, the Center is envisioned to set a new standard for hotels and commercial buildings. Using locally sourced materials and thoughtful, provocative design by Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB), it will become a valuable amenity to both the campus and the community. The site will feature a Maya Lin installation focused on climate and landscape--the final part of her "Ohio Trilogy."

The Gateway Center is named for its major donor, Peter B. Lewis, whose $5 million gift is the single largest contribution in Oberlin's campaign for support of the Green Arts District, and came in the form of a challenge that was successfully matched by other donors. Lewis, who launched Progressive Insurance, funded a number of pioneering building projects in Cleveland. His son Adam Lewis was the largest donor for the Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies built in 2000.  Thus father and son Lewis were "instrumental in bringing Oberlin to the forefront of the ecological design movement," in the words of David W. Orr, the Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics and senior advisor to the president of Oberlin College.


"Oberlin Names New Hotel and Conference Center in Honor of Peter B. Lewis," The Oberlin News Center (web), Oberlin College, February 25, 2014, accessed May 22, 2015.

"Update: The Oberlin Project," Oberlin Alumni Magazine, Vol. 110 No. 3, Summer 2015, 4.

Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB) website, accessed May 22, 2015.


Image Description

Architects' rendering of main entry.

Color digital rendering © Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB), 2015
(Courtesy of Solomon Cordwell Buenz)