The Bertram and Judith Kohl Building

Education   /   Oberlin College

The Bertram and Judith Kohl Building

Oberlin, Ohio    map
Status: Complete

The Kohl Building serves as the innovative new home of the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music's acclaimed Department of Jazz Studies and its academic programs in music history and music theory. The new 37,000 SF facility interfaces with the adjacent Conservatory complex and creates an elevated pedestrian link that ties in three buildings. A massive cantilevered roof, three stories high, hovers 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. The program 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.

This award-winning project meets challenging program goals, including stringent acoustical and technology requirements, as well as the highest standards for environmental stewardship and sustainability that are central to Oberlin College's mission. Targeting LEED NC Gold, The Kohl Building includes: 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. The project 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. As an added value, the geothermal radiant system reduces the need for ductwork, thereby mitigating penetrations in floors, ceilings and walls that compromise acoustics.

WRL used Building Information Modeling (BIM) for project design, management and documentation.