Stadium design approved
BY P.J. LASSEK World Staff Writer
Thursday, March 26, 2009
3/26/09 at 3:06 AM
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The exterior design of Tulsa's downtown ballpark will incorporate brick, zinc and art deco details that reflect the history of the Greenwood District, where it will be built.
The design, created by HOK Sport Venue Event's office in Kansas City, Mo., was approved by the Tulsa Stadium Trust during a special meeting Wednesday.
The ballpark, to be named ONEOK Field, will be home to the city's Double-A baseball team, the Tulsa Drillers. During the team's off-season, the stadium will have a variety of other events.
The $60 million project includes construction of a $39.2 million multipurpose stadium and acquisition of surrounding land for mixed-use redevelopment. The stadium construction is scheduled to be complete in time for the Drillers' 2010 baseball season.
The Drillers' owner, Chuck Lamson, is excited about the exterior design, which he said was the product of a "good, thoughtful process."
Even though the appearance strays from the tradition of all-brick ballparks, "it's unique with a warm and inviting feel," he said.
The use of brick in the design "gives homage to the architect of the Greenwood and Brady districts, and having the zinc panels creates the uniqueness of a new structure," he said.
An initial design concept released last year was discarded. It resembled Frank Lloyd Wright's architecture style with flat roofs, horizontal lines and stone, steel and glass construction material.
Grounded in history
The new design, while retaining a modern look, blends elements that provide vertical lines and height within the mostly horizontal shape. It also features rounded corners and medallions found in the art deco movement.
"The art deco touch, I think, is a really nice piece that just gives it some character," Lamson said.
Steve Boyd of HOK said three different 4-foot-square medallions would be recessed into the exterior of the facade in a repetitive horizontal pattern.
The medallions will draw on the history of the site, where one of the country's worst race riots took place. The three themes will be hope, unity and peace, Boyd said. The details of each medallions have yet to be decided, he said.
The trust assigned its member Reuben Gant, who also is the president of the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce, to devise a process to determine those details.
Boyd said the design also drew on the oil and red earth colors of Oklahoma.
The stadium will use three shades of brick — dark and light red and buff — and two shades of zinc panels — dark and light gray.
Both the bricks and zinc are durable and "green" materials that will need little to no maintenance, Boyd said. Zinc can last 80 to 100 years. Also, unlike copper, which turns green through its patina process, zinc turns a lighter shade of gray, he said.
A 30-year sealer will be applied to the zinc during the manufacturing process. Residue doesn't stick to zinc, so it won't have any stains such as those on the exterior of the BOK Center, the trust was told.
Traffic noise from Interstate 244 will be significantly muffled through the inclusion of an enclosed corridor along the suite level of the stadium and by the installation of a barrier wall by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, the trust was told.
Bob Jack of Manhattan Construction Co. said the state agency agreed to install the protective barrier in case of "a catastrophic collision" in which vehicles rolled off the interstate.
The stadium site nestles against a raised portion of Interstate 244, bounded by Elgin Avenue and Archer Street, and abuts the backside of the businesses along Greenwood Avenue.
Because of the site's shape, the ballpark will face southeast.
Lamson said most people are familiar with northeast field orientations, but facing southeast "is acceptable" in terms of the sun and players' safety. He said he gave the trust three position options — northeast, southeast and due north.
The field position allows for a southerly breeze through the stadium that should help ease the summer heat and lessen the impact of the short distance to the right-field fence, he said.
David Bower, an architect and principal in HOK, said other considerations included blocking highway noise, optimizing the view of downtown along the third-base line and dealing with the sun from the players' standpoint.
Boyd said HOK has an animated 3-D model that shows how the sunshine into the stadium would change minute-by-minute during a game.
Lamsom said the Drillers' parent club, the Colorado Rockies, reviewed the field orientation, clubhouse, dugouts, bullpens and all aspects related to the players and "enthusiastically endorses the plan."
P.J. Lassek 581-8382
One of the entrances to the Tulsa Drillers' new downtown home at ONEOK Field is depicted in an artist's rendering. HOK SPORT VENUE EVENT/Courtesy
An artist's rendering depicts the main entrance of ONEOK Field. HOK SPORT VENUE EVENT/Courtesy