Oberlin Conservatory Bertram and Judith Kohl Building77 West College Street
Oberlin, OH 44074
Design Achievement - Oberlin College, a private liberal arts college, needed a new home for the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music's acclaimed Department of Jazz and its academic programs in music history and music theory. DLR Group|Westlake Reed Leskosky's award-winning design meets the challenging program goals of such a facility, including stringent acoustical and technology requirements, and promotes social engagement, creative exchange, and intellectual loitering by bringing musicians, faculty, students, and the community together. The new facility interfaces with the adjacent Minoru Yamasaki-designed Conservatory of Music complex and creates an elevated pedestrian link that ties in three buildings. The third floor cantilevers in the air between the new and old buildings, providing an iconic social space/lounge that is the "soul" and creative hub of the building. Materials were left natural and exposed, allowing the requirements of acoustic isolation to make up the character of the spaces, visually and aurally. The building's brushed aluminum wrapper creates a dramatic responsiveness to changing light conditions, while interiors of polished concrete, integrally colored concrete block, and exposed steel provide durability and mass.
Scope Summary - The new 37,000 SF facility is arranged on four levels, including a basement. The building features a world-class recording studio; flexible rehearsal and performance spaces; teaching studios and practice rooms; a glass-enclosed social hub for interaction; and a library/archive for the largest private jazz recording collection in America and a rare collection of jazz photographs of the 1950s. Designed to the highest standards for environmental stewardship and sustainability, the project received LEED NC Gold and was designed to achieve energy performance greater than 40% better than an ASHRAE 90.1 baseline. Significant attention was paid to tight integration of acoustic, energy, comfort, and air quality considerations. Sustainability features include: geothermal heating and cooling with radiant panels, energy efficient systems and lighting, a green roof system, storm water run-off collection and filtration, and the use of local, recycled, and sustainably-harvested materials. As an added value, the geothermal radiant system reduced the need for ductwork, thereby mitigating penetrations in floors, ceilings and walls that compromise acoustics. DLR Group|WRL provided master planning, programming/planning, architecture, MEP and structural engineering, interior design, LEED/Sustainable design, BIM, IT / security design, audiovisual, and theater technical 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.