O'More College of Design

by David Rosen,President of O’More College of Design

The California Institute of the Arts was the brainchild of Walt Disney’s brother Roy who wanted to make sure that a next generation of animators would keep the Disney studios alive. Cal Arts produced the folks at Pixar, as well as Tim Burton and those folks who bring us Sponge Bob and Adventure Time. Good job.

When the Disneys built the Cal Arts campus, however, they constructed it so that if the school failed it could be turned into a hospital. That is an example of what people in Interior Design call “adaptive reuse,” the proposition that an old building can find new life through re-design and re-purposing. Grays the pharmacy becomes Grays the public house. The Old, Old Jail becomes the Heritage Foundation home. A Nashville trolley barn becomes the Entrepreneurship Center. By the way, that was designed in part by O’More’s Interior Design students.

Old,Old Jail -O'More College of Design

Each year the graduating seniors in Interior Design program propose adaptive reuses for their senior projects. Looking around the senior projects this year, I find something new. They are proposing adaptive reuses of nature.


The most striking example is a proposed mountain path that will allow someone reaching the top to be struck by the grandeur of the world and God’s hand at work. Turning back, the climber will find a humble chapel to contemplate the experience.

O'More College of Design

The scope of the project alone is overwhelming and speaks to the vision, courage, and hard work of O’More’s students. But adaptive reuse of nature?

O’More is one of the few colleges in the Nashville area to offer a first professional degree program in INTERIOR Design, accredited by the Council for INTERIOR Design Accreditation (CIDA) that qualifies students to take the licensing exam in INTERIORS.

So why are O’More interior students doing adaptive reuse in the outside world?

Von Robinson from Steelcase’s health group offers an insight. He points out that today health has no edges in our world. The hospital, clinic and pharmacy are not its confines. There is little that is not about health, from what we put into our body to how we use our bodies to what we wear and what we drive to what technologies help medical professionals understand our body’s systems.

As the boundaries disappear in the health field, they are in disappearing in many places. We have gone from having LEED certified buildings to having LEED certified neighborhoods that encompass buildings, landscapes and how they connect. The Gulch was the first in the South and is one of the first in the country.

The world is shifting rapidly, and it will be good for us to attend to a new normal in which boundaries are softening and in some cases disappearing. Luckily, here, in Franklin and in Nashville, we are leading where only a handful of the most forward-thinking schools and locales are venturing. This is great news. If we want to lead.

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