2016 AIA Central Oklahoma Merit Award for Adaptive Re-Use
Oklahoma Contemporary acquired a 4.5 acre site along Automobile Alley in downtown Oklahoma City to accommodate their future education and arts center. As part of the fundraising campaign, the Client wanted to create a temporary structure that would offer a visual landmark for the facility’s future home. This development, titled the “Showroom” would support the campaign process and increase public awareness. Once the art center was completed the Showroom could be dismantled, mobilized and reconstructed as a satellite gallery.
An important requisite was the ability for the structure to be relocated, while still preserving the integrity of the structure during transportation. An ideal solution, known for its adaptive re-use, was the use of shipping containers. The containers provided structural and sculptural ‘building blocks’ that were best suited for a temporary, portable assembly. The two bottom containers house the library, administration, restroom and gallery. The top unit offers additional gallery space while the vertical unit was modified into a light well, naturally illuminating the staircase. The overall structure was oriented at a 45 degree angle to allow visitors an elevated and framed pictorial view of the new arts center’s site.
The exterior was simply given a new coat of paint, the metal doors removed and new penetrations featuring full panes of insulated glass. Supported 12″ above the ground and lit from below, at night the Showroom appears to be hovering above the landscape. The interior space has a minimalist, industrial and low maintenance approach due to its core function as a gallery space. The primary materials used include exposed corrugated metal walls, painted gypsum board panels, adjustable LED track lighting, rubber flooring, and a galvanized steel staircase. After hours the interior space is illuminated with programmable LED’s which provide visual impact and interest along Automobile Alley.