Projects focusing on interior architecture
The French Hen
ARCHITECT: James Boswell, Architect
PHOTOGRAPHY: Miller Photography
The French Hen has been a Tulsa fine dining establishment for over 40 years. Originally Established in 1979 in south Tulsa, in 2019 the owner decided to make a bold move and relocate the restaurant to a new building development in the heart of downtown’s Brady Arts district. After 41 years the restaurant needed refreshing and a new look, but with such a strong following the owner and her clientele emphasized the new space needed to be “cozy”. The 2,800 square foot restaurant seats 93, with 16 sidewalk cafe seats. A solid live-edge walnut community table greets you as you enter the space. The 13ft ceilings were perceivably “lowered” with chandelier clusters of traditional edison bulbs. Dining nooks were created by adding planters between banquette seating and high-back booths. The back bar is a montage incorporating 40 years of special wine dinner menus, many signed by the hosting winery owners, and wine labels signifying the long history of the restaurant. Across from the bar is a commissioned drink-table with waterfall marble sides creating a casual spot to converse and have cocktails.
ARCHITECT: James Boswell, Architect
PHOTOGRAPHY: Miller Photography
Crowning the top of the VAST Bank Building in downtown Tulsa, in the raw – vū’s panoramic view inspired its name. vū embraces and accentuates the view. There’s not a bad seat in the restaurant.
The high school audio and video recording studio and classroom is the result of collaboration among various organizations and individuals whose efforts provided a comfortable and accurate space for music education and production. Housed on the third floor of the existing building, the 1,160-sf facility opened its doors to students September 2019.
The project includes a dedicated audio and video recording studio, an adjacent visually and electronically connected classroom, and infrastructure for remotely capturing performances elsewhere in the building. The spaces were designed to record and live stream in-house productions, perform and record for scholarships and competitions, teach the recording process to a class of approximately 15 students, and develop podcasts. As stakeholders in the design process, the BTWHS Advisory Board funded the project through a fund-raising campaign and educational grant for equipment. Shoehorned into an existing space, the design was executed through numerous precise details and meticulous attention to construction details, efficient MEP systems, and acoustical isolation.
The arts and academic magnet school, located near the heart of a major U.S. city, serves 700 students in grades 9 through 12. For nearly 100 years, the high school has educated, cultivated, and sharpened multiple layers of talent.
The Avedis Foundation’s Rejuvenation Suite is a thankful acknowledgement of the work of our frontline nursing staff—those who put themselves on the front lines of health every day.
At 1,655 square feet, the space provides a respite amid the demands of COVID-19 pandemic for healthcare professionals at SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital in Shawnee. Increased patient loads, unprecedented demands on healthcare staffing, and extended work hours translate to exhaustion and burnout for healthcare professionals. Rooted in the latest wellness research, the Suite prioritizes the mental and physical health of medical professionals.
The Suite is rejuvenated and rejuvenating. The space is a former patient room area, transformed into an in-house wellness suite. Designers collaborated closely with the client and donor to create a space that celebrates the health of SSM’s staff – with flexible fitness space, artwork installations, relaxing seating options and dimmable lighting systems. The Suite’s design also includes multifaceted spaces for staff to partake in yoga, guided meditation, massage, and reflection. Luxurious features include an enclosed “bubble wall” with LED lighting, an option to permeate the HVAC system with aromatherapy and a surface- mounted projector dedicated to soothing, nature-themed displays.
ARCHITECT: KKT Architects
CONTRACTOR: Joel Coggins Construction
PHOTOGRAPHY: Chris Wilkins
St. Vitus is designed around a thematic narrative: in a hypothetical post-apocalyptic future, crumbling edifices of the past are being reborn. The 2000 SF club represents an abandoned church converted into a dance club. Its cathedral-like layout features an altar-inspired bar facing east, an elevated pulpit-inspired DJ booth juxtaposed to the bar, and pew-like seating. Catholic motifs are expressed in metal details recalling confessional screens, ceiling murals, and back-lit Romanesque mirrors around the perimeter. Religious iconography includes faux stained-glass windows framing the DJ booth and even the club’s namesake: St. Vitus, the patron saint of dance.
A futuristic ambiance is created with the steel, exposed clay blocks, and concrete framing the space. Acoustical baffles in both the columns and ceiling soften sound. Custom-made laser-cut sheet steel logos are embedded in the concrete floor at the four compass points. Acoustically responsive LED dance floor lighting color-changes, pulses, brightens, and dims. The bathrooms display various brightly colored surrealistic murals on each toilet area’s walls and the sink area’s ceiling.
The gender-neutral restroom configuration—a first for Tulsa—fulfilled our client’s vision of one room with separate toilet rooms and shared sinks to use limited space most equitably. We researched how other cities under the same code allowed similar design and advocated for this configuration with the City of Tulsa, ultimately securing approval for the design.
The owner championed an open design to encourage people to mingle and relax. An outdoor patio provides patrons a quiet retreat from the pulsing dance floor.
ARCHITECT: GH2 Architects
CONTRACTOR: Clark Contractors
PHOTOGRAPHY: Susan Rainey, Yellow Dog Design Works
Rising from the Blue Dome District like an oil derrick on the prairie is a six-story boutique hotel offering homage to Tulsa’s iconic past with a contemporary, playful twist referencing Tulsa’s Blue Dome District of today.
As the District’s tallest building, this 93-key hotel pays tribute to Tulsa’s original spirit, the American rustic resolve and the area’s recent reinvigoration. Featuring rustic brick, concrete and steel finishes, the hotel references the area’s warehouse district history, while subtle lines give a nod to the city as one of the world’s finest Art Deco centers.
Reclaimed oil drum lids add whimsy to the sixth floor’s ceiling that leads to a rooftop bar and outdoor patio. The bar and sixth-floor balconies offer guests unique views of the city’s downtown. A full-service restaurant and fitness center add convenience for guests, while first-floor public spaces feature a curated art installation from Tulsa’s rich oil history.
Rustic finishes reference the oil town’s history and modern accents reflect the area’s contemporary, artsy character.
Representing Tulsa’s past with flavors of the future, this hotel reflects the next wave of Tulsa’s cultural pioneers and offers spaces that invite not only tourists but locals to enjoy.
Cross Neighborhood is the University of Oklahoma’s newest mixed-use residential community. The complex will house over 1,200 students in four buildings featuring suite-style rooms. Additionally, Cross Neighborhood contains numerous amenities - including multiple dining venues, retail, a medical clinic, creative spaces, a salon, and workout facilities - designed to combine all aspects of student living into one communal student village. Each building in the complex will be a distinct residential college that continues the University’s commitment to provide students with a quality living-learning environment with a faculty-in- residence. A “den” adjacent to each faculty apartment provides a common space for students and faculty to gather and interact. The student amenities at Cross Neighborhood are unique on campus and further enhance the quality of student life. A selection of nine dining venues, two retail shops, a black box theater, a maker space, a medical clinic, and two workout facilities make this a uniquely mixed-use community on campus to appeal to the modern student. Between the many dining options, commercial amenities, and various indoor and outdoor features that create the spontaneous interactions of campus life, this complex is more than an apartment building - it is a lifestyle center.
A Place of Health and Healing
ARCHITECT: The McKinney Partnership & Butzer Architects and Urbanism
CONTRACTOR: Sun Construction Services
PHOTOGRAPHY: Timothy Hursley
A dermatologist recently returned to her native state, seeking a collaborator with whom to design a clinic that reflects her passion for the study of skin and her care for clients. Together, they asked how this center for patient care can reflect an empathy for patients undergoing skin care, and result in a design that fosters confidence and radiant health.
An evidence-based design process led the team into the field of neuroscience in architecture. Countless scientific studies assert fractals found in nature elicit positive responses by the brain. These conclusions spurred the team to focus on the unit of a skin platelet as a form generator featuring hexagonal fractals. A measured approach was taken to situate hexagonal shapes within a color palette also proven to elicit positive neurological responses.
The Center’s organizational parti is kept intentionally simple so that patients may process the public/private zoning in tranquil fashion. Approached from the south within a suburban office strip, a light-filtered waiting room embraces the visitor and immediately shrouds them amidst a palette of calming and secure forms, colors, and materials. Vibrant blue hexagonal floor tiles, carpet, and upholstered furniture complement the rich natural browns of the abundant millwork. A wall plane of maple-framed amenities is punctuated with sets of hexagonal internally-lit displays. An overhead canopy of darkened maple shelters the reception desk counter, defining a threshold for patient care beyond. Through a well-deliberated prescription of fractals, spatial transparency, colors, and materials, the Center proves that beauty is more than skin deep.
ARCHITECT: MA+ Architecture
CONTRACTOR: GE Johnson Construction
PHOTOGRAPHY: Simon Hurst Photography
The design of the new school for Positive Tomorrows is a response to the unique needs of the homeless students and families they serve. The space is designed to support social services as well as the schools ‘High Structure – High Love’ curriculum.
The design achieves a sense of home rather than an institutional setting and a campus where learning opportunities can happen anywhere. Names given to the spaces are inspired by areas commonly found in a home setting like, the Family Room, Living Room, and Backyard. The student’s contributions to the design are evident throughout the space. One example is a graphic wall within the Maker Space which features floor plans, originally hand-drawn by the students during a sketching exercise.
The space fosters stability, considers circulation needs, and promotes organic, easy to follow routines for the students. An open-space concept creates a safe atmosphere where students are easily monitored while specialized learning spaces cultivate enriching learning opportunities. Areas like a Food Lab, Maker Space, Literacy Lab, and an Art/Music classroom are dedicated to experimentation, problem solving, and cultural heritage curriculum ensuring the students are given the opportunity to explore activities that promote life-long learning and curiosity.
For several generations, Enid Public Schools’ basketball, volleyball, and wrestling teams have not had a practice or competition venue of their own. In 2016 the citizens of Enid voted for a bond program to pay for the design and construction of a new 100,000 sf competitive gymnasium which would also create a new home for the high school’s music and theater programs. This multi-purpose facility integrates several athletic and academic programs while providing additional classroom space for the entire campus.
Athletic programs like basketball, volleyball, wrestling, and spirit squads now call the facility home. The arena features 2,000+ seats and provides two concession spaces. Overlooking the arena at concourse level is a multi-purpose room that serves a variety of functions as well as rooms for the spirit squad.
An acoustically isolated music department promotes the school’s award-winning band, orchestra and choir programs. Featuring individual and ensemble practice rooms, department offices, and state of the art equipment storage capabilities, the new facility offers a necessary upgrade for one of the top music programs in the state. Drama and digital media departments feature a black box theater, production studio, scene shop, classrooms, dressing rooms, media control booths, and video editing bays.
McKnight Center for the Performing Arts at Oklahoma State University
ARCHITECT: Beck Design
CONTRACTOR: Manhattan Construction
PHOTOGRAPHY: Tim Hursley
Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma conducted a feasibility study for future planning and programming of a new fine arts center. It didn’t take long to discover that renovating the aging facilities would be neither cost-effective nor practical. The study focused on functions that would happen within the facility and the big goals the university had in mind. The result, 74,000 SF McKnight Center for the Performing Arts. The new PAC features a 1,098-seat main hall, 217-seat recital hall, and an outdoor public plaza with a 32' LED wall and an extensive sound system. The building features all of the amenities visiting artists need when they arrive at a performing arts center: a full scene shop with adjoining loading dock, laundry, wardrobe rooms, dressing rooms large enough to accommodate a full choir, additional private dressing rooms, and a well-appointed green room. The stage house and structure are constructed of concrete for acoustics. The near perfect acoustical technology in the performance hall can be fine-tuned to maximize sensitivity for any type of performance.
Izakaya’s character was conceived as a glimpse of the experience one would have while wandering the dense, pub studded, alleys of urban Japan. An elevated entry deck projecting into the public right-of-way dressed in dark curtains and battens speaks to medieval Japan and announces entry to the restaurant.
Lighting within the space was kept intentionally sparse to create an intimate mood for dining while reserving bright wash lighting for a prominent mural visible to patrons throughout the restaurant.
Dressed in dim light, two central structures within the space, one solid and one open, function as organizing bodies derived from In-Yo, the Japanese symbol of balance synonymous with Yin and Yang. Analogous positive and negative spaces converse as the bar, caged in dark stained wood battens, plays in tandem with the open grill defined by its exposed red vent hood offering patrons a full view of dishes undergoing preparation.
ARCHITECT: Fitzsimmons Architects
CONTRACTOR: Iconic Construction
PHOTOGRAPHY: Justin Miers Photography
The Ludivine project consisted of a new full-service restaurant & bar within an existing 3,300 square foot shell structure and an additional 1,085 square feet of outdoor patio space. The existing mid-century modern building was most recently occupied as office space, requiring zoning and building code change-of-use to an A-2 Assembly occupancy. Major construction and budget constraints and the desire to maintain the design integrity of the existing building directed design and material choices.
On the exterior patio, an oversized expanded metal screen wall was powder-coated to emulate the gold anodized aluminum screen walls reminiscent of the MCM period. On the interior, off-the-shelf tile and parquet flooring mirrored similar finishes from the era. Hard ceilings were limited to the open chef’s kitchen and the bar area, providing a concealed space for ductwork while allowing the dining areas to feel more expansive. The desire for the bar to have its own identity dictated the provision of a separate entrance and dark material palette. A unique wall pattern was created from standard ogee trim profiles including casing, baseboard, chair rail, crown, and cove moldings, stained a dark hue.
RENEGADES examines the radical pedagogy of Bruce Goff, chairman of the University of Oklahoma College of Architecture from 1947-55. In contrast to mainstream programs, Goff’s students created wildly organic projects.
The exhibition’s experiential approach captures the “American School” spirit in a choreographed emotional journey for visitors. Visual cues attract and imply direction. Along a continuous path, spatial compression and release signal distinct curatorial sections. Within the main section, information is parsed among purpose-made “stations.” The recyclable exhibition materials evoke an architectural model, combining with the other design strategies to exemplify “American School” values of being contextual, experimental and resourceful. As of this writing, materials from the exhibition are being repurposed, by College of Architecture students, into a mobile heath center for indigenous people.
Other attractions include a gallery featuring works by Goff’s students in their professional careers; a virtual reality station where users can experience unbuilt or demolished American School works; and a Play Architect section for the younger visitors, featuring fantastical site models, magnetic bricks, play figures and “client” profiles to inspire budding young architects.
Woolaroc was established in 1925 as the ranch retreat of oilman Frank Phillips. The ranch is a 3,700- acre wildlife preserve, home to many species of native and exotic wildlife. Woolaroc is also a museum, with a world-class collection of western art, Native American materials, one of the finest collections of Colt firearms in the world, and so much more.
This building started life as Frank’s horse barn in 1925. It received an unfortunate renovation and addition in the 1970s and sat vacant for most the last 10 years. The 1925 horse barn was built of sandstone mass walls with a wood-framed roof/ceiling structure. The 1970s addition is concrete frame with sandstone infill and featured a seldom-used sunken theatre. By the 2000s, the barn was used as a gift shop.
Today, the Fraser Welcome Center is the front door to the wonder that awaits you at Woolaroc. It serves as a place for orientation and relaxations, a place to relax, have lunch, or hold a business meeting. The design features a sophisticated interior, taking cues from the 1920s frontier, exotic wildlife and Native America culture that will be experienced in the museums and exhibits of Woolaroc.
ARCHITECT: Allford Hall Monaghan Morris
CONTRACTOR: Lingo Construction Services
PHOTOGRAPHY: Eric Schmid
Flywheel is an interior office fit-out for Flywheel Energy Management, on the third floor of the Heritage Building in downtown OKC. Key drivers for the project were openness and flexibility, to accommodate future growth and the evolution of the company. The office space has been designed around a central multifunctional space or ‘town square’, with workspace, meeting rooms and amenity surrounding it. This central hub is where the company holds monthly update meetings, break outs and social events. A large skylight has been introduced to the middle of the plan directly above the town square increasing the natural light and sense of space. Planting has been used throughout the project to help define spaces and break up portions of open plan.
Advanced Orthopedics of Oklahoma Clinic Renovation
This 65,000 square foot clinic occupies the 2nd floor of a uniquely shaped, triangular high rise building and is connected to the parking garage with a dedicated entry on the 2nd floor. The clinic features 90 exam rooms, six X-ray rooms, a brace shop, a cast room with 10 stations, and 12 check-in stations. The space also includes physical therapy and performance training, a retail pharmacy, café, medical records, financial counseling, EMG, worker’s comp, conference rooms, and a waiting/common area. In order to create a state-of-the-art clinic space, our firm incorporated eye-catching aesthetics and wayfinding. The clinic space is compartmentalized into various specialty “pods” for different types of physical therapy. Wayfinding played a crucial role in delineating these separate spaces. By varying ceiling heights, strategically placing signage, utilizing color-coded interior finishes, and incorporating technology, our designers worked to make navigation intuitive throughout the 2nd floor clinic. The clinic design also maximizes the long-term functionality of the space. We worked to eliminate raised transitions between floor materials in order to reduce fall risks. Finishes were also chosen to withstand hospital-grade cleaning materials, high levels of traffic, and accidental impacts from wheelchairs and other mobility assistance devices.