Posts tagged with "Tulsa":

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Michael Van Valkenburgh transforms Tulsa’s riverfront into a fantastical green parkland

The Gathering Place, Tulsa, Oklahoma’s newest public park, is anything but basic. Opened in early September, the 66.5-acre riverside landscape looks more like an ultra-green theme park than a typical urban park with trees thrown in for shade. Designed by landscape architects Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA), the $465 million project was dreamed up by the George Kaiser Family Foundation and backed by over 80 other local corporate and philanthropic donors. It’s located just 2 miles from downtown Tulsa on a formerly flat, scorching site along the Arkansas River. After four years of the first phase of construction, it’s now one of the city’s greatest amenities, providing spots for sport, relaxation, and water play underneath a sprawling tree canopy and atop grassy open lawns. MVVA transformed the topography of the existing site by creating various elevated landscapes and other sunken spaces with access to water. The firm also accentuated the native ecologies of the parkland and introduced wetlands, meadows, streams, and dry areas that inspire different types of interaction with nature. Thick logs for seating, fingerlike tree trunks for gathering, and local stone used for walls and mazes were additionally incorporated to connect the landscape as a whole and link it to the surrounding region. While the park boasts threads of regional bike trails, courts for ball-handling sports, and 21 points of entry and exit, it’s the surprising structural elements of play that make it stand out. MVVA designed a 5-acre adventure playground for kids age two to 12 that features seven thematic spaces: Volcanoville, The Land of the River Giants, Royal Tower, Fairy Land Forest, The Ramble, Spiral Connector, and Mist Mountain. According to the architects, these play areas are “boldly expressive and richly programmed,” with normal playground elements such as towers, suspension bridges, and slides, but also fantastic designs like climbable, large-scale animals, flowers, and fruit. Many of the play accessories are clad in steel as well as timber imported from the Alps. Accessibility is a key component of The Gathering Place. MVVA describes the guiding vision of the park to be a democratic space where all Tulsans can come together and experience an array of physically challenging and leisurely activities. Children in wheelchairs can easily access the playscapes through elongated ramps on all of the structures, like the giant, wood-slatted elephant with a truncated slide. The park also includes a pond and boathouse where families can check out kayaks, canoes, and paddle boats. A coffee and ice cream cafe, as well as a dining patio and other picnic areas are situated in the northern part of the parkland near the play spaces to encourage extended stay. Toward the park’s south side, MVVA designed the Sky Garden and Four Season Garden, as well as Swing Hill, situated on the highest point of The Gathering Place with prime views of downtown Tulsa. At the farthest end of the park, visitors can enjoy courts for basketball, volleyball, street hockey, and soccer, or ride over to the skateboard and bike park, which offers courses for all ages and levels. A 50,000-square-foot children’s science museum will also be constructed in this area, coming late summer 2020. Phases 2 and 3 of construction, beginning next spring, will bring the park to a total of 100 acres.
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Olson Kundig is chosen to design The Bob Dylan Center in Tulsa

  The George Kaiser Family Foundation has just announced Seattle-based design practice Olson Kundig as the lead architect and exhibit designer for The Bob Dylan Center, a new exhibition space dedicated to the works of renowned singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. It will be located on Martin Luther King Boulevard southeast of the Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The center will be the public venue for The Bob Dylan Archive, and is expected to break ground in 2019 and open in 2021. According to the center’s website, it will be home to a collection of more than 100,000 objects such as “handwritten manuscripts, notebooks and correspondence; films, videos, photographs and artwork; memorabilia and ephemera; personal documents and effects; unreleased studio and concert recordings; musical instruments and many other elements.” Olson Kundig won first place in the international competition for the job. In a rendering of the entrance released by the Foundation, an exuberantly colored painting by Dylan named The Beaten Path is printed on the wall. Curtain walls on the side introduce ample daylight to the seating area. In a rendering of the semi-outdoor exhibition space, one of Dylan’s quotes from Chronicles, Volume One is printed on the ceiling. People can slide into wall indentations and read, text, or quietly indulge in Dylan’s music. In an interior rendering, light boxes containing Dylan’s personal items float above the ground. Olson Kundig is partnering with Tulsa-based Lilly Architects, the architect of record for the project. Plains of Yonder will be the partner for audio and multimedia experiences for the building.
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A proposed cut to historic preservation tax credits in Oklahoma raises concerns

In October 2014, photos surfaced of John Johansen’s Mummers Theater, or rather, the theater reduced to a pile of scrap metal and rubble—the humbled remains of bold architecture traded in for corporate towers courtesy Robert A.M. Stern.

In 2010, before its demolition, the 1970 theater was vacant and severely damaged by flooding. Finding funding for historic preservation, especially for structurally compromised buildings, can be challenging.

And, if two Oklahoma state senators, Mike Mazzei and Rob Standridge, had their way—luckily the bill died on the Senate floor—more buildings could have lost funding sources for preservation and go the way of Mummers Theater.

This past February, the two Republican lawmakers introduced Senate bill 977, a sweeping proposal to close the state’s budget deficit by nixing a slew of tax credits for two years, including those intended for historic preservation.

Oklahoma’s Own News on 6 reported that the bill could affect Tulsa buildings like 400 South Boston, a planned hotel conversion; the TransOK building at Sixth and Main, a 30-unit residential building; and the Palace Theater, a residential conversion in process. The largest project to be affected is in the heart of downtown Oklahoma City: The $30 million renovation of the city-owned First National Center, a 33-story, almost one-million-square-foot 1931 art deco building at Broadway and Park Avenue.

On January 7, 2016, Oklahoma City awarded Lewisville, Texas–based NE Development the contract to preserve First National and convert it to the mixed-use trifecta of residential, retail, and hotel. Senate bill 977 was introduced the following day, complicating the project’s timeline and casting momentary doubt on its financial feasibility.

The issue with rehabbing big buildings like First National Center, said Luke Harry, president of asset management at NE Development, is that “you have to figure out ways to normalize the costs, not to make it cheap, but to make it regular. I could build a 30-story tower for half the price of rehabbing First National.”

The aim of federal, state, and new market tax credits, tax increment financing, and similar incentive programs, said Harry, is to mitigate the risk of investing in often-costly rehabs. “Nobody’s making money off of the tax credit, they’re making money off what you can do five, seven years down the road, once everything starts to stabilize.”

To many developers and preservationists, the cuts seem like a cheap shot. Harry explained that in order to receive a tax credit, his work—plans, rehabilitation, and completed construction—is checked at those three key points before the state issues any tax credits. “Everyone assumes the developers gets these credits. They don’t really understand that the money never gets close to [the developers]. We actually take a small loan out on the money. It’s not like when we have $20 million in tax credits, we’re walking around with $20 million in our pockets.”

NE Development will not close on the building until after May 27, 2016, the day the legislative session concludes for the year. Right now, the bill is in legislative purgatory. It’s been stripped of its title, and a title-less bill cannot be made into law. Roxanne Blystone, Senator Mazzei’s executive assistant, said that the bill was amended to reinstate historic preservation tax credits. The sponsors of the bill could resuscitate the bill during the next session, although this is not likely to happen.

While the near-certain death of the bill is good news for the historic preservation tax program, its mere presence has delayed the timeline of large projects like First National and all but killed smaller projects, especially in rural Oklahoma, observed Harry. Anticipating a delay like this, NE Development had two extensions related to preservation credits in its contract, “Mostly because it’s a longer process. We’re comfortable with our ability to get the credits, we’re just uncomfortable with whether they’re going to be there,” Harry noted, ruefully. Melvena Heisch, deputy state historic preservation officer at the Oklahoma Historical Society, said that she doesn’t know if the bill has affected any projects yet, but the agency was “quite concerned” about that possibility early on.

If the threat of cuts to historic preservation has real-world ramifications in Oklahoma, the bill also raises questions around civic priorities and the future of preservation in the state. Harry suggested an intervention as simple as a lunch-and-learn for legislators to address misperceptions about the tax credits and give a clear explanation of how they work. “I think everybody would understand [the credits] because they’re just not tricky, they’re very transparent. Historic tax credits work really well. Without that money, beautiful historic buildings rot in place.”

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Rockefeller Foundation names 35 new cities in its 100 Resilient Cities Challenge

The Rockefeller Foundation has announced a second batch of cities in its 100 Resilient Cities Challenge. The foundation launched the challenge last year as a way to support resiliency measures in cities around the world. This includes support to hire a Chief Resiliency Officer. One year after the first 32 cities were selected, another 35 have been added to the list, including six in the United States—Boston, Chicago, Dallas, PittsburghSt. Louis, and Tulsa. To see the full list, visit the 100 Resilient Cities Challenge website.
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On View> Philbrook Museum of Art presents Allan Houser: A Celebration

Allan Houser: A Celebration Philbrook Museum of Art 116 East Brady Street, Tulsa, Oklahoma Through November 2 Allan Houser: A Celebration is an ongoing exhibition at the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa that honors the paintings and sculptures of late Native American artist Allan Houser. The exhibition commemorates Houser’s 100th birthday this year and highlights his contributions to Native American painting and sculpture during his time as an active artist. The works displayed will center on the Indian Annual, an art competition sponsored by the Philbrook, which Houser both partook in and judged. Houser has a decorated history at the Indian Annual. He won the Grand Award (given to the best art piece in the show) a total of five times. In addition to those awards, Houser received the Waite Phillips Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1969 and judged the competition for 13 years from 1963 to 1976. Houser centennial appreciation is happening elsewhere in the state as well. The Oklahoma Museum of Art in Oklahoma City just concluded its exhibition Allan Houser: On the Roof.
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Slideshow> Michael Van Valkenburgh’s Design for Tulsa Park

[beforeafter]05b-tulsa-oklahoma-park-mvva-archpaper 05a-tulsa-oklahoma-park-mvva-archpaper[/beforeafter] As AN reported in our recent Southwest edition, Michael Van Valkenburgh is hard at work on plans for a massive park in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  According to the article, "The community expressed a strong need for the park to accommodate not just children, but the whole family unit. Having a variety of activities for a wide age range became a primary factor in the development of the design." The $300 million waterfront plan is expected to be complete by 2017. MVVA shared this set of renderings with AN to keep us excited in the meantime. [beforeafter]02b-tulsa-oklahoma-park-mvva-archpaper 02a-tulsa-oklahoma-park-mvva-archpaper[/beforeafter] [beforeafter]12b-tulsa-oklahoma-park-mvva-archpaper 12a-tulsa-oklahoma-park-mvva-archpaper[/beforeafter]