Perkins + Will Jazzes Up a Former Junior High for the Hotel Grinnell in Iowa

PROJECT NAME Hotel Grinnell
LOCATION Grinnell
FIRM Perkins + Will
SQ. FT. 65,000 SQF

Adolescence doesn’t usually factor into hospitality projects. But for Iowa’s Hotel Grinnell, Perkins + Will transformed a former junior high into a unique hotel that pays homage to the site’s history. The gymnasium was turned into a ballroom and the old locker room became a bar. Terrazzo floors, original to the 1921 school, were carefully restored. Branding elements play up the educational past of the building. “This is a space where old school tradition merges with new school attitude,” principal and senior designer Jacqueline McGee says. Guest room guides resemble vintage composition books and visitors are encouraged to provide comments on report cards. To top it off, client Angela Harrington, who provided valuable input throughout the process, suggested that every guest receive a bright red apple.

Original hardwood floors were restored. Photography by Jim Kruger.
Industrial-style beds and vanity bases are iron. Photography by Jim Kruger.
Exterior light fixtures are also original. Photography by Jim Kruger.
The bar was once the school’s locker room. Photography by Jim Kruger.
The front of the reception desk was painted black to resemble a chalkboard. Photography by Jim Kruger.

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