Experiencing Great Architecture and Creative Built Environments

Westlake Reed Leskosky

Kohl Building (2010)

Westlake Reed Leskosky, Architects

44 West College Street Oberlin, OH 44074

on the campus of Oberlin College & Conservatory

Aerial View and Map ( the aerial view was taken prior to the construction of the building)

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Visited June 2, 2011

The Bertram and Judith Kohl Building is the College’s home to the jazz, music history and theory programs. It sits in the back corner of a parking lot, behind a block of Main street storefronts. I happened upon the building by accident, and what a happy accident it was. The LEED building is a sculpture of metal panels with a syncopation of windows on the east facade. On the west side there is a 3rd floor skybridge which takes a jog before the glass clad tube truss crosses the sidewalk below and connects to Yamasaki’s 1963 Conservatory Building.

What appeared to be a grand opportunity, there is a grand stairway up the side of the building to what promised to be a grand rooftop garden. What a disappointment the rooftop garden was. It was a small area, mostly hard surface, with planters around the perimeter. The parapet wall is too tall to get a view from the center of the deck, and the planters prevents anyone from getting close enough to look over the parapet for a view. Perhaps a nod to the Fontainebleau Hotel’s “Staircase to Nowhere”? Once you climb the stairs to the third floor, the only thing to do is to come back down. (to be fair, I think there is a cafe inside adjacent to the deck, but it was closed the day I climbed the stairs).

For more information on the Kohl Building, check out these links:

Westlake Reed Leskosky Website


Architect Magazine Article