Oberlin College Apollo Theatre

  • Opened/Completed

    • 2012
  • Area

    • 20,547 ft²
  • Cost

    • $5,596,713

Design Achievement - Originally built in 1913 as an 840-seat, single-screen movie house, the Apollo Theatre is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Oberlin Historic Downtown District. Oberlin College purchased the property in an effort to keep the historic venue alive as a first-run movie house, while providing new space for the College's Cinema Studies Program and for community events and performances. DLR Group|Westlake Reed Leskosky's design preserves the local landmark's architectural uniqueness, while providing contemporary function and amenities. Honoring the venue's status as one of the oldest existing cinemas to consistently maintain original function, the project restores and reconstructs historic details throughout. In the main auditorium removal of 1950s-era distressed wall treatments revealed decorative wall patterns, dating from the late 1930s. The project reconstructs the historic patterns using new, absorptive materials that enhance acoustic performance to contemporary standards. Recreation of the 1950s-era marquee, which was in disrepair, uses original neon lighting where functional, and replacements where broken. 

Scope Summary - The multi-phased renovation encompassed 20,547 SF. Phase 1 focused on meeting building code and ADA requirements, adding digital projection and sound, and expanding the lobby (reducing auditorium seating to 500). Phase 2 added a multi-media center for the College’s Cinema Studies Program, including a new suite of classrooms, labs, and offices. The suite comprises: a post production lab, multi-purpose studio, video editing room, flatwork animation room, two recording isolation booths, a sound booth, and new projection rooms for both the existing main auditorium and a new smaller, 60-seat film screening room located in former retail space on the first floor. The historic main auditorium was also upgraded with new seating and finishes, 35 mm film and 3-D cinema projection, and THX 5.2 surround sound capabilities. Audiovisual signal can be transmitted across the campus single-mode fiber system to other performance venues. Utilizing Preservation Tax Incentives and New Market Credits, the renovation was subject to review and approval of the Ohio Preservation Office and the National Park Service. The project targeted LEED Silver certification. DLR Group|WRL provided architecture, interior design, MEP and structural engineering, audiovisual, acoustics, security, information transport/telecommunications, historic tax credit documentation, and LEED coordination services. 

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

Oberlin College Apollo Theatre

Oberlin College