The American Institute of Architects

A Chapter of the American Institute of Architects

Large Commercial Architecture Projects

Muscogee (Creek) Nation Okemah Community Hospital | Architect: 1 Architecture

Photography by: Aaron Kimberlin – Architectural Photography


The Muscogee (Creek) Nation, like many other native tribes, sought to overhaul their aging healthcare system. They not only wanted to improve their buildings and level of care, but also to construct a new facility that would surpass expectations and set a higher standard for the perception and implementation of healthcare in Native American communities. The Muscogee (Creek) Nation Community Hospital began this healthcare revitalization. This building showcases the progression of a people and their traditions through the juxtaposition of old world materials and modern technologies embodied in rammed earth and color changing metal panels. The beauty and skill of traditional materials and craftsmanship is fundamental to this project and its portrayal of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s history. The healthcare archetype, however, continuously evolves with new technologies, thus, this health campus also needed to bring state-of-the-art healthcare to rural Oklahoma. This complex is a statement and a testimonial of a Nation striving for excellence. It is a model of environmental stewardship and the cornerstone of modern Tribal healthcare that will serve the Muscogee (Creek) Nation community for years to come.


Muscogee (Creek) Nation Eufaula Indian Health Center | Architect: 1 Architecture

Photography by: Aaron Kimberlin – Architectural Photography


The Eufaula Indian Health Center is an all-inclusive health clinic that lies between a lake and a highway, with its narrow, linear volume nestled deep into the surrounding vegetation. The building’s low silhouette elegantly projects a strong solid mass in contrast to its surroundings. With the precisely detailed exterior phenolic skin and large expanse of segmented glass this nature-centric building optimizes the exterior views and provides a calming connection to nature. The exterior entry facade and canopy illustrate a playful representation of the landscape beyond. The canopy columns and asymmetrical branches, cut out of phenolic panels, celebrate the inherent tensions between nature and technology. The Health Center is rooted in tradition and symbolism, but as a state-of-the art LEED certified building, it is also strongly grounded in modern, sustainable technologies.


Tulsa Fire Safety Training Center

Architect: TODD Architecture Group

Photography by: Whit Todd


Designed as a “mini-city”, the project provides opportunities for training, maximizes the experience for students and instructors, and provides a safe “realistic” setting for training. The project includes a Drill Tower, Training Fire Station, and Special Operations building. The 14 acre site includes “mock” city streets of various widths and turns. DRILL Tower: The six story Drill Tower provides over 20,000 square feet of training area and was designed for five propane-fueled training live-fire props. There are numerous non-fire props: a spongy floor prop to simulate a weakened structure; ceiling collapse props; roof ventilation props; an elevator prop; several confined space rescue opportunities and; a multitude of rappelling tie offs. Instructors are able to black out the building and fill it with theatrical smoke. Training Station: Fire Station 101 is a training station with three drive-through apparatus bays. There is a tiered briefing classroom, office spaces, restrooms with showers, and a break room with a full kitchen. SPECIAL OPERATIONS BUILDING: The 20,000 square foot, single story Special Operations building includes space for fleet vehicles and rescue equipment used by Oklahoma Task Force 1 and their associated Urban Search and Rescue teams.


St. Francis Glenpool | Architect: Miller Architects

Photograph by: Joseph Mills Photography 


Saint Francis Health System, as part of their growing effort to expand quality healthcare in the Tulsa region, identified Glenpool, Oklahoma for their first Freestanding Emergency Department complete with Diagnostics and Primary Care services. Known for the pink stone of the original hospital, Saint Francis has embraced the pink as part of their brand and logo. Saint Francis wanted to make a strong first impression with this new healthplex in the growing city of Glenpool, Oklahoma. They did so with contemporary architecture and their signature pink. The prominent pink glass fin feature stands out both day and night as internal lighting brings the pink glass to life.


Tandy YMCA | Architect: GH2 Architects

Photograph by: Yellow Dog Design Works


Dedicated to the art of healthy living, the Tandy Family YMCA is located

across in the heart of residential Tulsa. Originally constructed in 1968, our firm recently completed a transformation of this facility that included a 52,174 square foot renovation and a 42,790-square-foot addition. The intent of the project was to reflect the character of the organization in the

design and to promote the core values of the YMCA (a healthy mind, body and spirit), while reinvigorating the dated facility to remain a landmark within the local community.

The transformation of the unique facility is a combination of a complete renovation of the existing Thornton Family YMCA and the new expansion. Completed in two phases, the facility remained in continuous operation for patrons during construction.

The center boasts an outdoor splash park and indoor aquatic center available to people of all ages. One feature of the water park is the indoor/outdoor slide that can be used year-round. There are three distinct bodies of water, including recreation pool, lap lane area and therapy pool.


Choctaw Nation Headquarters | Architect: FSB Architects & Engineers

Photography by: Simon Hurst


Tired of being cramped inside aging buildings and scattered across leased offices around Durant, leaders of Oklahoma’s Choctaw Nation decided it was time to invest in a new headquarters complex to accommodate the Nation’s rapid growth. The goals included showcasing the Choctaws’ achievements and heritage, consolidating tribal services for its more than 80,000 members into one convenient, easily accessible location and providing a home for approximately 900 employees. The new headquarters houses tribal government officials along with more than two dozen key departments and a wide variety of Choctaw programs. The five-story building features two office wings, designed to be adaptable and expandable with movable walls for maximum flexibility, connected to a central core. Visitors entering through the front doors step into the light and welcoming two-story main lobby, which features golden wood tones, floor-to-ceiling windows, a ceiling-mounted Choctaw Nation seal and a water feature representing the tribe’s historical journeys. The facility incorporates cultural displays throughout, along with a lobby area, gift shop, offices, conference areas, break rooms and restrooms. The materials, patterns and colors chosen all allude to the tribe’s rich history. The site was landscaped with native plants and grasses, and features a pond and walking trails.


OK Department of Wildlife Conservation Renovation & Expansion | Architect: Beck Design

Photography by:  Eric Baker of BAKER / ROWAN


The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation project was a $16M renovation and addition, completely funded by proceeds made from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, not by taxpayers. The original building had served the Wildlife Department for nearly 50 years without any notable renovation. The original building was a Frank Lloyd Wright inspired design that served as the inspiration for the new addition. A new 12,000 SF addition was built; expanding the building to the west and north and introducing natural light to the interior of the building. Outdoor balconies were included to provide new vistas of downtown Oklahoma City and the State Capitol. The new addition houses offices, a conference room that cantilevers into the grand lobby, new auditorium, new front entrance and grand lobby with an elaborate wildlife diorama and interactive kiosks. The new Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation headquarters emulates the great State of Oklahoma with interior design features such as: intricate stone waves that splash across the board room walls representing movement of a waterfall, natural light filling open space through the lofty atrium where custom-made felt tree benches glow, and a duck blind that serves as the purchasing desk for licensing and permits.


American Fidelity Parking Garage | 

Architect: TAP Architecture

Photography: Simon Hurst 


The American Fidelity Corporate Headquarters Parking Garage serves the employees and visitors of the corporate campus right located on the southeast corner of Broadway Extension and W. Britton Road. The over 600-car parking garage was chosen to sit at the forefront of the campus to allow simple and efficient connectivity through a major traffic thoroughfare. What many consider being a mundane and utilitarian building type has been used to enhance a corporate campus with a bold statement at the front door. It is both an attractive and practical parking receptacle during the day and a celebration of illumination at night.


Apila Center | Architect: REES

Photography by: Joseph Mills Photography


In order to expand services, the Tribal Health campus needed additional freestanding facilities. Apila Center is a spacious 38,000–square–foot office building that houses senior administration and business offices for the Chickasaw Nation Department of Health. The Chickasaw Nation desired a functional, modern building that celebrated their ancestry. The building’s identity was established through the combination of natural materials, like stone, and modern materials, like metal panels. Natural materials were locally sourced, helping to further define the building’s identity. A connection to nature, a strong relation between indoor and outdoor spaces as well as the inclusion of natural light deep into the building were all fundamental aspects of the design.The building includes many types of work spaces which encourage employee productivity such as meeting rooms, break rooms, a large conference room and an open-office concept. The open-office concept allows for flexibility, efficiency and easy communication. The large, flexible conference space on the first floor can hold 100 people and will be utilized by building occupants, the existing medical center or for community functions. The exterior materials complement existing architecture on the campus while establishing a unique identity for the building.


Disney's Cascade Cabins at Wilderness Lodge | Architect: GSB, Inc. 

Photography by: Disney


DISNEY’S CASCADE CABINS AT WILDERNESS LODGE offer an idyllic retreat in Orlando, Florida, inspired by the Pacific Northwest’s rich mining and railroad history. Dubbed “luxury man caves for tired dads” by GQ magazine, these 26 private waterfront cabins feature a serene rustic-elegant design overlooking Bay Lake providing tranquility for any visitor. Each cabin sleeps up to eight guests and features two bedrooms, two baths, large dining and living room spaces, and screened-in wraparound porch with a built-in hot tub. With cathedral ceilings, exposed wood beams, live edge wood slabs, an indoor-outdoor automatic fireplace, roomy bathtub, built-in leather headboards, stone detailing and over-sized waterfall showers, the cabins bring the beauty of the outdoors inside for a warm, luxurious stay. Extraordinary attention was given to the cabins’ design and materials as well as maintaining authenticity to their inspiration – historic rock quarry mining camps – built from available materials typically found nearby the site. The final outcome was a cabin design that utilizes true timber framing, maintains an honesty of materials and provides guests with a magical experience.