Bok Center

The urban matrix of most of the American cities is rectilinear: square and orderly. Grids are interrupted by natural landforms, watercourses, road arteries, and sometimes, buildings. In that sense, Tulsa has the Arkansas River. Tulsa has the Turkey and Shadow Mountains. Tulsa has the Bok Center.

The impact of the natural formations and the buildings to the outline of the city can’t be compared in any other way but emotionally. The silvery gray spiraling volcano of the downtown doesn’t stop one because of its size, it doesn’t impose as a barrier, it catches the eye with tilted, curved surfaces. The swirling tapered shapes mold together to express the centripetal motion drawing the visitor in, the centrifugal motion radiates the happenings into the city and a soaring motion of the inclined, stainless walls ascend the architecture from its initial purpose to become the city Icon.

It could be an homage to the local historic tribal houses, it could be an exercise in structural composition of trusses, purlins, columns and striking glass facades or a reinterpretation of spiraling ramps of the Guggenheim Museum. Whichever of those, this building represents a bold, fresh signature image of the city.

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Love architecture? Purchase this exclusive photo of the Guggenheim by Stephen Je