Venturi’s Oak Gets New Name and Facelift

Penn State University’s beloved “Oak Building” will be getting a new name and a facelift. The Penn State Board of Trustees recently approved renaming the building the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation Building, in honor of the foundation whose gift is helping to make the renovation of the 11,500 square foot building possible.

Built in 1976, the Oak Building was designed by the firm Venturi and Rauch. This architecturally significant building contributes to the surrounding Farmers’ High School Historic District. Inspired by Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown’s work, Learning from Las Vegas: The Forgotten Symbolism of Architectural Form, the Oak Building is an early example of the weaving together of historic typologies with modern interpretations for which Venturi became famous.

GBBN’s design team will keep this in mind as it works on the project. “Throughout the design process, we are considering the principles of the original design intent,” says GBBN Project Architect, Amanda Markovic, “the new work will complement the original while remaining distinctly different.”

Creating a new home for the School of Hospitality Management’s Learning Center for Hospitality Inclusion and Innovation, the renovated building will provide a place that welcomes, supports and inspires, furthering the center’s commitment to diversity, achievement, and engagement.

While creating intentional links to significant nearby campus landmarks, like Mateer and the Nittany Lion Inn, the renovation will also make the most of the building’s connection to the surrounding landscape (including Hort Woods), with multipurpose, exterior spaces that can host a variety of events, including classes, alumni gatherings and industry events. The renovation will also create dynamic classrooms, meeting, and event spaces within the building that support experiential learning and allow Penn State’s School of Hospitality Management to experiment as it explores the latest trends in the hospitality industry.

Read more about the PSU Oak renovation here.

Read about GBBN’s connections to Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown here.