Honorable Mention - Excellence in Landscape Architecture for General Design

Williams College

the Williams Inn
Williams College - the Williams Inn
Jury Comments
““. . . elegant design . . . softness and integration into the landscape is right on . . . lovely use of planting palette and efforts for stream restoration . . . connects the drainage in a beautiful way . . . splendid example of the importance of landscape architecture . . .””


    • Site – 3.8 acres
    • LEED Gold
    • A former automobile repair shop (brownfield)
    • The bold planting design places large stormwater gardens at the front door of the Williams Inn.
    • Native plants tie to the ecology of the surrounding mountains.
    • Terraces overlooking the stream surround the Williams Inn and restaurant.
    • The restored stream running through the center of the site is a hallmark of Williams College’s commitment to sustainability.
    • The elegant pedestrian bridge and path to the new community park is a testament to the school’s partnership with Williamstown.
    • Trails were designed with Williamstown to tie into existing systems.


The Williams Inn is a community inn, restaurant, and park in the heart of Williamstown, MA. The inn is a linchpin that connects the campus to Spring Street, the town’s commercial corridor. The site—a former automobile repair yard—was a 4-acre brownfield that required extensive environmental remediation. The highly collaborative design process and transformation of the site resulted in three distinct areas: first, the construction of the inn and surrounding terraces, parking, and arrival; second, a restored perennial stream corridor leading to Christmas Brook; and third, a community park at the terminus of Spring Street.

This project—comprised of the inn and its surrounding landscape, a perennial stream restoration, and a public park— represents the culmination of a 5-year collaboration between Williams College and the town of Williamstown. The site is located at an important intersection where the campus meets the surrounding community. Located at the terminus of Williamstown’s primary commercial street, the Williams Inn was designed to anchor the entire downtown business district while making an edge of the campus more inviting and integral to the surrounding community.

Sustainability is central to the Williams College identity. College students, alumni, and benefactors appreciate it when sustainability is legible in the designs of campus landscapes and facilities. By linking the historic campus to the new sustainable aesthetic and identity of the Williams Inn, the project celebrates exemplary environmental stewardship and a thriving partnership with the college’s host town.

The Williams Inn has helped the college contribute to the economic prosperity and cultural enrichment of Williamstown. The location of the project at the end of Spring Street, the main commercial corridor in Williamstown, created a design imperative that the inn and surrounding landscape be a welcoming place and cultural asset for the town. The community park is situated as a highly visible destination at the end of the street. This park is also the new permanent home for the town’s living Christmas tree, a 30-foot-tall Fraser fir. This public-facing element of the Williams Inn can grow and evolve over time, accommodating the changing needs of the town and school.

Project Team

STIMSON; Cambridge Seven; Nitsch Engineering; Pine and Swallow Environmental Services; Aqueous Consultants; Countryside Landscape