Launch Slideshow

The pattern of windows on the east façade is a nod to the neighboring Yamasaki buildings. The rhythm of panels was intended to recall, but not mimic, the windows and arches of the older buildings.

Bertram and Judith Kohl Building

Bertram and Judith Kohl Building

  • A view from the exterior stairs.

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    A view from the exterior stairs.

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    Kevin Reeves

    A view from the exterior stairs.

  • The buildings exterior wall system is a Reynobond composite metal panel of which the provenance has a local connection: Bauxite was first processed into aluminum in Oberlin by scientist Charles Martin Hall. The milled brush finish plays with the light in a way that evokes the adjacent Yamasaki buildings; their white concrete has an opalescent aggregate that gives the white a great deal of depth.

    http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmpE860%2Etmp_tcm20-604765.jpg

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    The buildings exterior wall system is a Reynobond composite metal panel of which the provenance has a local connection: Bauxite was first processed into aluminum in Oberlin by scientist Charles Martin Hall. The milled brush finish plays with the light in a way that evokes the adjacent Yamasaki buildings; their white concrete has an opalescent aggregate that gives the white a great deal of depth.

    600

    Kevin Reeves

    The buildings exterior wall system is a Reynobond composite metal panel of which the provenance has a local connection: Bauxite was first processed into aluminum in Oberlin by scientist Charles Martin Hall. The milled brush finish plays with the light in a way that evokes the adjacent Yamasaki buildings; their white concrete has an opalescent aggregate that gives the white a great deal of depth.

  • Sustainably harvested ipe is used as part of the LEED Gold strategyit will weather to gray, relating in tone to the metal panels. The buildings top floor is a fully glazed box that floats over Kohl plaza on the buildings west face. A custom frit pattern helps increase the glazings shading coefficent to 0.28 while adding another shade of gray to the palette. Over time, The building will become a series of gray tones as a backdrop for a vibrant art, Kurtz says.

    http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmpE855%2Etmp_tcm20-604754.jpg

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    Sustainably harvested ipe is used as part of the LEED Gold strategyit will weather to gray, relating in tone to the metal panels. The buildings top floor is a fully glazed box that floats over Kohl plaza on the buildings west face. A custom frit pattern helps increase the glazings shading coefficent to 0.28 while adding another shade of gray to the palette. Over time, The building will become a series of gray tones as a backdrop for a vibrant art, Kurtz says.

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    Nic Lehoux

    Sustainably harvested ipe is used as part of the LEED Gold strategy. It will weather to gray, relating in tone to the metal panels. The building's top floor is a fully glazed box that floats over Kohl plaza on the buildings west face. A custom frit pattern helps increase the glazings shading coefficent to 0.28 while adding another shade of gray to the palette. Over time, The building will become a series of gray tones as a backdrop for a vibrant art, Kurtz says.

  • The Reynobond cladding is treated with a specially formulated stain from PPG Industries that takes it from aluminum to a deeper shade, more like zinc, Kurtz says. The team selected the coils of metal used for the panels and then took samples to the plant, where the coating was tested.

    http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmpE854%2Etmp_tcm20-604753.jpg

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    The Reynobond cladding is treated with a specially formulated stain from PPG Industries that takes it from aluminum to a deeper shade, more like zinc, Kurtz says. The team selected the coils of metal used for the panels and then took samples to the plant, where the coating was tested.

    600

    Nic Lehoux

    The Reynobond cladding is treated with a specially formulated stain from PPG Industries that takes it from aluminum to a deeper shade, more like zinc, Kurtz says. The team selected the coils of metal used for the panels and then took samples to the plant, where the coating was tested.

  • The pattern of windows on the east façade is a nod to the neighboring Yamasaki buildings. The rhythm of panels was intended to recall, but not mimic, the windows and arches of the older buildings.

    http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmpE85E%2Etmp_tcm20-604763.jpg

    true

    The pattern of windows on the east façade is a nod to the neighboring Yamasaki buildings. The rhythm of panels was intended to recall, but not mimic, the windows and arches of the older buildings.

    600

    Kevin Reeves

    The pattern of windows on the east fa§ade is a nod to the neighboring Yamasaki buildings. The rhythm of panels was intended to recall, but not mimic, the windows and arches of the older buildings.

  • Interior circulation centers on a series of stairs on the west side of the building. The first flight mirrors an outdoor staircase, which doubles as seating for performances. Standing on the second floor landing, students can see up into a courtyard on the third floor.

    http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmpE85F%2Etmp_tcm20-604764.jpg

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    Interior circulation centers on a series of stairs on the west side of the building. The first flight mirrors an outdoor staircase, which doubles as seating for performances. Standing on the second floor landing, students can see up into a courtyard on the third floor.

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    Kevin Reeves

    Interior circulation centers on a series of stairs on the west side of the building. The first flight mirrors an outdoor staircase, which doubles as seating for performances. Standing on the second floor landing, students can see up into a courtyard on the third floor.

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    Courtesy Westlake Reed Leskosky

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    Courtesy Westlake Reed Leskosky

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    Courtesy Westlake Reed Leskosky

  • A third-story bridge links the Kohl Building to a new circulation tower that nestles between two of the Yamasaki volumes. The bridge doubles as a student lounge. Polished concrete floors and white walls create a neutral backdrop for the space, which can be used for everything from group study to impromptu performances.

    http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmpE861%2Etmp_tcm20-604766.jpg

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    A third-story bridge links the Kohl Building to a new circulation tower that nestles between two of the Yamasaki volumes. The bridge doubles as a student lounge. Polished concrete floors and white walls create a neutral backdrop for the space, which can be used for everything from group study to impromptu performances.

    600

    Kevin Reeves

    A third-story bridge links the Kohl Building to a new circulation tower that nestles between two of the Yamasaki volumes. The bridge doubles as a student lounge. Polished concrete floors and white walls create a neutral backdrop for the space, which can be used for everything from group study to impromptu performances.

  • The faculty lounge is also located on the third floor, next to the enclosed garden. Growing in the garden are two specially bred witch hazel trees, which bloom in late January. When students return for the spring semester, the vibrant orange and lime green blooms provide a respite from the snow-covered Ohio winter.

    http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmpE856%2Etmp_tcm20-604755.jpg

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    The faculty lounge is also located on the third floor, next to the enclosed garden. Growing in the garden are two specially bred witch hazel trees, which bloom in late January. When students return for the spring semester, the vibrant orange and lime green blooms provide a respite from the snow-covered Ohio winter.

    600

    Nic Lehoux

    The faculty lounge is also located on the third floor, next to the enclosed garden. Growing in the garden are two specially bred witch hazel trees, which bloom in late January. When students return for the spring semester, the vibrant orange and lime green blooms provide a respite from the snow-covered Ohio winter.

  • The corridors offer benches and nooks that are intended for use as casual social spaces. The hope is to promote more interaction between students and the faculty who have offices nearby.

    http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmpE862%2Etmp_tcm20-604767.jpg

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    The corridors offer benches and nooks that are intended for use as casual social spaces. The hope is to promote more interaction between students and the faculty who have offices nearby.

    600

    Kevin Reeves

    The corridors offer benches and nooks that are intended for use as casual social spaces. The hope is to promote more interaction between students and the faculty who have offices nearby.

  • The recording studiolocated on the south end of the buildingis the most acoustically sensitive room in the building. To isolate the room from the rest of the facility, the walls are a massive 4 feet, 1 inch thick. The ceiling has to protect the studio from airplane noise and vibrations, because the building is on the flight path to the Cleveland airport. The green roof directly above the studio adds extra mass that helps block the roar of 747s passing overhead.

    http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmpE864%2Etmp_tcm20-604769.jpg

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    The recording studiolocated on the south end of the buildingis the most acoustically sensitive room in the building. To isolate the room from the rest of the facility, the walls are a massive 4 feet, 1 inch thick. The ceiling has to protect the studio from airplane noise and vibrations, because the building is on the flight path to the Cleveland airport. The green roof directly above the studio adds extra mass that helps block the roar of 747s passing overhead.

    600

    Kevin Reeves

    The recording studio located on the south end of the building is the most acoustically sensitive room in the building. To isolate the room from the rest of the facility, the walls are a massive 4 feet, 1 inch thick. The ceiling has to protect the studio from airplane noise and vibrations, because the building is on the flight path to the Cleveland airport. The green roof directly above the studio adds extra mass that helps block the roar of 747s passing overhead.

In leafy Oberlin, ohio, the central Tappan Square is dominated by the town’s namesake college—an example of a town-gown relationship that can’t be ignored. The well-regarded liberal arts school provides lots of architectural interest, with notable buildings by architects ranging in era from Cass Gilbert to William McDonough. “Oberlin is branded by innovation,” says Paul E. Westlake Jr., principal-in-charge of Cleveland-based architecture firm Westlake Reed Leskosky. It was the first American college to regularly admit female and black students, and today it’s positioning itself as number one in green building, having established LEED Silver as the minimum standard for new buildings on campus. “They make sustainable design a challenge to all their designers,” Westlake says of college leaders.

The world-renowned Oberlin Conservatory of Music occupies a corner off Tappan Square. Minoru Yamasaki—best known for the World Trade Center’s towers—designed the original 1963 buildings; his low-scale complex is a series of indoor and outdoor spaces defined by the architect’s signature narrow, pointed arches, rendered in white precast concrete. Westlake Reed Leskosky has added its new Bertram and Judith Kohl Building to the Yamasaki original. The bar-shaped structure attaches to the old complex via a vertical circulation tower and third-story bridge. The building is situated between a parking lot to the east and the Yamasaki complex to the west.

The architects planned the building to create a north-south axis. Accessed from Tappan Square to the north, students proceed through a plaza between the old and new structures, and an exterior stair moves up the Kohl building façade and terminates the axis in another green space: a third-story roof garden. “We wanted to redirect the energy,” project designer Jonathan C. Kurtz says. “It’s a dense, urban landscape—where the rest of the campus is more bucolic.” David H. Stull, dean of the conservatory, notes that the addition’s location behind the Yamasaki complex “isn’t where you’d [choose to] put it—it doesn’t have any street frontage.”

Stull isn’t a big fan of the Yamasaki buildings—although the architect “brought natural light into all the spaces through courtyards and windows”—a strategy Stull and the Westlake Reed Leskosky architects tried to reprise. “We wanted to bring nature into the building,” Kurtz says. The team was able to accomplish this through several primary moves. First, the building’s narrow footprint allows ample daylighting in all spaces. Second, a central “terrarium” on the third floor brings light and colorful winter-blooming flowers into the public spaces and adjacent faculty lounge. Third, the south roof garden is always open to the public.

The 37,000-square-foot addition is three stories tall, plus a basement, and houses the jazz studies department. Other facilities include a recording studio, rehearsal and performance spaces, teaching studios, practice rooms, and archives. The building’s program is stacked in a way that makes sensible use of the material mass necessary to acoustically isolate each of these spaces. The ground floor has percussion practice rooms and rehearsal studios that require the densest construction. Standard practice rooms, needing slightly less dense construction, are on the second floor, and offices—the closest the Kohl Building gets to conventional construction—are on the third floor.

While spaces focused on individual students are private and isolated, the public spaces encourage interaction. “We wanted to create unplanned social learning environments,” Kurtz says. Sometimes this is as simple as a bench in the corner of a corridor; other times it’s more elaborate, like the stairs that rise in unison from the ground floor to the third level, both inside and outside.

“The influence of jazz on the building is interesting,” Stull says. “The windows on the east façade are syncopated and the color of the anodized aluminum changes. It’s improvisational.” Paul Westlake has a more straightforward way to describe the intended excitement. “We wanted to design the place where the lights go out last,” he says. In the Kohl Building, they have.


Project The Bertram and Judith Kohl Building, Oberlin, Ohio

Client Oberlin College

Architect, Interior Designer and M/E/P and Structural Engineer Westlake Reed Leskosky, Cleveland—Paul E. Westlake Jr. (managing principal, principal-in-charge); Jonathan C. Kurtz (associate, project designer); Rhonda Hansal (associate, project director); Lyle Satterlee (construction administration); Raymond Kent (associate, theatrical consultant); Matthew J. Murphy (lead mechanical engineer); Megan Blank (mechanical project engineer); Stephanie Banfield (associate, lead structural engineer); Robert J. Smolinski (associate principal, lead electrical engineer); Carmen Mazzant (electrical project engineer)

Civil Engineer KS Associates, Elyria, Ohio—Jeff Keefe

General Contractor Krill Construction, Cleveland—Doug Fishback

Landscape Architect GroundView, Somerville, Mass.—Wilson Martin

Acoustic Consultant Kirkegaard Acoustic Design, Chicago—Dana Kirkegaard

Cost Estimator Project and Construction Services, Cleveland

Size 37,000 square feet

Construction Cost $15.5 million

Project Cost $24 million

Materials and Sources

Acoustical System RPG Diffuser System (panels and diffractals) rpginc.com; Mason Industries (hardware)mason-ind.com

Carpet Lees Carpetsl eescarpets.com

Ceilings Knauf Drywall (MP75 Projection Plaster) www.knaufdrywall.co.uk; BEKAbeka-klima.de/en

Coatings and Sealants L&M Construction Chemicals lmcc.com; FinalFinishfinalfinish.biz

Concrete Akron Concrete Corp. akronconcrete.com; Pompili Precast Concrete pompiliprecastconcrete.com; Mack Industriesmackconcrete.com

Exterior Wall Systems Riverside Group (fabricator) riversidegroup.net; Reynobondreynobond.com

Fabrics Knoll Textiles www.knolltextiles.com; Maharam maharam.com; Verosolverosol.com

Glass Viraconviracon.com

Gypsum National Gypsum nationalgypsum.com; Acme Arsena Co. (contractor)acmearsena.com

HVAC Reliance Mechanical reliancemechanical.com; Mammoth (ground-source heat pumps) mammoth-inc.com;
 Munters Corp. (energy recovery ventilator)munters.us

Insulation Fibrex Inc. fibrexinsulations.com; Owens Corning owenscorning.com; Acme Arsena (contractor)

Lighting Control Systems Lutron Electronics Co. (EcoSystem, SoftSwitch 128) lutron.com

Lighting Strand Lighting strandlighting.com; Bega bega-us.com; Color Kinetics colorkinetics.com; The Lighting Quotient ( Elliptipar) thelightingquotient.com; GVA Lighting gvalighting.com; Ledalite ledalite.com; Litelab litelab.com; Metalux by Cooper Lighting metalux-lighting.com; Neoray by Cooper Lighting neoray-lighting.com; Rambusch rambuschlighting.com; Selux selux.com

Masonry and Stone Grand Blanc CMU grandblanccement.com; VIP (contractor) viprestoration.com

Paints and Coatings PPG Industries ppg.com

Renewables Middleton Geothermal Servicesmiddletongeothermal.com

Seating Wenger Corp. wengercor.com; Allermuir allermuir.com; Steelcase steelcase.com; Davis Furnituredavis-furniture.com

Site and Landscape Products Hanover Architectural Products hanoverpavers.com; American Hydrotechhydrotechusa.com

Structural System D&J Structural Contract ; Thomas Steetsifab.com

Walls Dietrich Metal Framing dietrichmetalframing.com; Acme Arsena (contractor)
 
Windows, Curtain Walls, and Doors Tubelitetubelite.com