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The Oberlin campus and community unveiled the Bertram and Judith Kohl Building during a two-day celebration that featured celebrity guests and performances by alumni, faculty, and students. The Kohl Building houses the Oberlin Conservatory of Music’s jazz studies department and its academic programs in music history and music theory. A ceremonial groundbreaking occurred in June 2008, with construction under way in late July.

The architectural firm of Westlake, Reed, Leskosky (WRL) designed the $24 million building that includes flexible rehearsal and performance spaces, teaching studios, practice rooms, music archive and exhibits, instrument storage, a lobby, a world-class recording studio, and the largest privately held jazz recording collection in the United States; the latter is a gift from James and Susan Neumann of Chicago, Illinois. Mr. Neumann is a 1958 graduate of Oberlin College.

The design of the Bertram and Judith Kohl Building by WRL has received the AIA Western Mountain Region 2009 Honor Award for Unbuilt Work. In conjunction with an overall master plan for the future growth of the Oberlin conservatory, the project has also earned awards of merit in the 2007 AIA Ohio Design Awards and AIA Cleveland Design Awards in the unbuilt categories.

The firm aspires to achieve a gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating from the U.S. Green Building Council for the Kohl Building. Buildings with LEED certification are determined to be environmentally responsible, profitable, and a healthy place to live and work.

See the early stages of the site construction:

Design Fact Sheet

Download PDF

Construction photos





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