A Rhapsody in Reynobond®: Oberlin College’s New Jazz Building Clad in Alcoa Architectural Aluminum Panels

July 21, 2011

Aims to be the First LEED® Gold Certified Music Conservatory in the

NEW YORK–The Bertram and Judith Kohl Building, a virtual rhapsody in Alcoa’s
Reynobond aluminum composite material (ACM), has applied to become the
first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold
certified music conservatory in the U.S.

The $24 million, three-story, 37,000-square-foot structure is the new
home for the Jazz Studies Program at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music
in Oberlin, Ohio. It is composed of three basic elements: an aluminum
exterior, which wraps and encloses the programmatic elements; openings
created by cutting and peeling away the aluminum composite material
shell; and an abundance of daylight streaming into the building.

“From the beginning, we planned to clad the exterior in aluminum,” said
Lead Project Designer Jonathan C. Kurtz, AIA, of architectural firm
Westlake Reed Leskosky, Cleveland. “It was a natural choice as the City
of Oberlin sits above one of the largest deposits of bauxite ore in the
country. And it was here, in 1886, that Charles Martin Hall, an Oberlin
alumni and one of the founders of Alcoa, developed the cost-efficient
process for obtaining aluminum from aluminum oxide that brought aluminum
into widespread use.”

Upon his success, Hall became a great benefactor to his alma mater. The
Tappan Square property, on which the Kohl Building now stands, was just
one of his generous gifts to the school.

Alcoa ACM panels in a brushed aluminum finish were used for the exterior
walls and an anodic clear finish of the Reynobond material was used for
the soffits of the building. Color was used to tie the new conservatory
building to the existing campus designed in the 1960s by noted
architect, Minoru Yamaski. Constructed of pre-cast concrete with a
finish that’s almost opalescent, the Yamaski buildings appear to
transform under different light. To mimic the dynamics of the surface,
Alcoa worked with cladding manufacturer Riverside Group of Windsor,
Canada, to develop a custom finish for the Alcoa panel that also appears
to transform as the light changes. The panel is further accented by the
use of Brazilian Ipé hardwood siding at the entrance to add material
texture. The wood, harvested from a sustainable forest, will weather
naturally to a silver color that ties it to the aluminum and creates a
coherent vernacular for the campus.

Sustainable Features

Targeting LEED Gold Certification, Westlake Reed Leskosky designed the
building with the highest standards for environmental stewardship and
sustainability, as well as stringent acoustical and technology
requirements. The architectural firm recently submitted documentation to
the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to attain LEED certification, an
internationally recognized benchmark for design, construction and
operation of high-performance green buildings. The Kohl Building is now
undergoing a thorough assessment for certification. If successful, it
will be the first LEED Gold certified music conservatory in the U.S.

According to Kurtz, meeting LEED qualifications was interesting due to
the unique requirements of a music building, which houses a large
collection of Steinway pianos and other instruments, because of the need
to maintain the right humidity levels for the instruments. Sustainable
features include geothermal heating and cooling with radiant panels,
energy-efficient systems and lighting, a green roof system and storm
water run-off collection and filtration. Sustainably harvested materials
were used throughout. The project was designed to achieve energy
performance greater than 40% higher than the ASHRAE 90.1 baseline energy
standard for buildings. Also important: the tight integration of
acoustic, energy, comfort and air quality considerations, and a
geothermal radiant system, which reduces the need for duct work in the
walls, floors and ceilings that compromise acoustics.

The Bertram and Judith Kohl Building houses a world-class recording
studio; flexible rehearsal and performance spaces, teaching studios,
practice rooms, a glass-enclosed social hub, an archive of the largest
Jazz recording collection in the US, as well as, collections of rare
instruments and jazz photographs from the 1950s.

About Alcoa Architectural Product
Alcoa Architectural
Products offers a complete range of exterior and interior cladding and
corporate identity solutions. Architects and specifiers find they have
greater control over the finished appearance of projects when working
with the Alcoa family of products, which includes the revolutionary new
EcoClean® coating, the Reynobond® Face Fastened Solution, the
Colorweld®500 finish with the industry’s first 30-year warranty, and
innovative materials such as the Reynobond Design Line, Anodized
Reynobond and Reynobond with KEVLAR®, in addition to classic Reynobond
ACM, Reynobond Natural Metal and Reynolux® profiled panels and flat
sheet. Alcoa Architectural Products is a business unit of Alcoa, the
world’s leading producer of aluminum products.

About Alcoa
Alcoa (NYSE:AA) is the world’s leading producer
of primary and fabricated aluminum, as well as the world’s largest miner
of bauxite and refiner of alumina. In addition to inventing the
modern-day aluminum industry, Alcoa innovation has been behind major
milestones in the aerospace, automotive, packaging, building and
construction, commercial transportation, consumer electronics and
industrial markets over the past 120 years. Among the solutions Alcoa
markets are flat-rolled products, hard alloy extrusions, and forgings,
as well as Alcoa® wheels, fastening systems, precision and investment
castings, and building systems in addition to its expertise in other
light metals such as titanium and nickel-based super alloys.
Sustainability is an integral part of Alcoa’s operating practices and
the product design and engineering it provides to customers. Alcoa has
been a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for nine consecutive
years and approximately 75 percent of all of the aluminum ever produced
since 1888 is still in active use today. Alcoa employs approximately
59,000 people in 31 countries across the world. More information can be
found at www.alcoa.com.