Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Elevations: Tornado Tower

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Elevations: Tornado Tower

Article excerpt

TULSA - Architect Andrew Kinslow expected some interesting feedback from his firm's proposed tornado-shaped tower. But even he was surprised by the inquiries that started blowing into his Kinslow Keith and Todd offices within hours of that glassy image's Feb. 24 Tulsa People website debut.

"We thought people who saw Tulsa People would talk about it," said KKT Principal Jim Boulware. "I didn't think we had any idea people in China would talk about it."

China, Russia, Belgium, Romania, Malaysia ... in less than two weeks, newspapers, television stations and websites around the world had marveled at KKT's cantilevered steel-and-glass office building design, which the firm offered as home for another hypothesized project, an Oklahoma Weather Museum and Research Center. That element spurred a surprise call from University of Tulsa adjunct professor Kerry Joels, who for two years has pursued a weather museum concept for downtown Tulsa.

"We feel there's a very good possibility of doing this," Joels said. "Obviously it would be an iconic statement, along the themes of the St. Louis arch or the Seattle Space Needle."

Some analysts around the world didn't realize the circular skyscraper was nothing more than an imaginary lark, one of three pro- bono projects Tulsa People sought last November for a March issue reimagining downtown.

The magazine asked KKT to envision what could be done with a rather plain two-story building at 202 S. Guthrie Ave. Their proposed 15- to 20-story Tornado Tower came from desires by architects Whit Todd, Daniel Grudek, Boulware and Kinslow to somehow raise a revolving rooftop restaurant high over Oklahoma's second- largest city. So they imagined a soaring central core, with infrastructure and elevators rising from that 28,000-square-foot building, supporting cantilevered floors in an ever-widening high- rise.

"Part of the challenge was where our site was located," Boulware said.

While near the BOK Center, the Guthrie building was limited by its 0.3-acre lot, neighboring highway ramps and a four-story cooling tower.

"It's kind of an island, really, due to everything around it," he said. "It didn't have any use."

As the primary tenant, the KKT team foresees the museum layout directing their interior design. …

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