Oberlin College Bibbins Hall Renovation

Design Achievement - Bibbins Hall, the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music’s main teaching building with 40 studios and 10 classrooms, opened its doors in 1964. The building was designed by Minoru Yamasaki, best known as the architect of the original World Trade Center building. In order to accommodate growth, the Conservatory needed to find space for a new recital and performance hall within the iconic complex that would exhibit excellent acoustic performance and isolation for ensemble recitals, serve as a multi-purpose daily-use classroom, and accommodate up to 65 occupants. DLR Group|WRL’s design re-imagines this campus icon; providing a fresh approach to music education. The design solution replaces two classrooms and two offices on the top level of the existing building with a new double-height volume that appears as a simple frosted glass lantern from the exterior. This feature permits soft natural light into the performance space, while deferring to the reflection of the sky and existing formal language of the Yamasaki building for its image. In the evening, it gives the creative activity of the musicians inside visibility from the outside. Facing Tappan Square, Bibbins Hall embodies much of the city’s collective landscape and is subject to historic landmarks design oversight. 

Scope Summary - This multi-phased renovation of a music building encompassed an aggregate of 42,000 SF. Phase I second-floor renovation included the overhaul of mechanical, electrical and technology infrastructure; addition of new windows; and update of classrooms, teaching studios, and rare instrument storage areas. The Phase II main third-floor renovation provided larger classrooms, developed daylight infused performance and teaching studios and a glass lantern that pierces the roof. The Phase III renovation encompassed the remainder of the third floor, including corridors, faculty offices, teaching studios, and two classrooms. Phase IV remodeled the first floor teaching studios and classrooms. Phase V renovated the stairs, entires, restrooms, and the Dean’s Suite. DLR Group|WRL provided: architecture, MEP and structural engineering, information transport, and audiovisual design services. 

DLR Group acquired Westlake Reed Leskosky in September 2016. Today, the combined design expertise and resources of Westlake Reed Leskosky and DLR Group serve clients as a global, integrated design firm committed to elevating the human experience through design.

Awards & Recognition

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  • Citation Award

    American Institute of Architects (AIA) Western Mountain Region
  • Honor Award

    American Institute of Architects (AIA) Ohio
  • Honor Award

    American Institute of Architects (AIA) Cleveland