AIA Central Oklahoma’s Design Excellence Awards program is held every other year and celebrates the best in architecture and urban design.  As part of this celebration we invite you to vote for your favorite project in each category.  Review the projects here and click on the at the bottom of the page to VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE PROJECT will remain open until 5:00 p.m. on November 1st.


Project: OKSea     |     Architect: Allford Hall Monaghan Morris

Photography By: Timothy Soar

This is a mixed-use regeneration project that activates an underutilized plot of land in downtown Oklahoma City. The urban site is transformed by a collection of 17 stripped and refitted shipping containers, hosting a corn dog bar, a donut shop, a juice bar and two office units. The project, which integrates a neighboring dog park and plaza, contributes to the revitalization of Deep Deuce.

Arranged in an angled formation across the site, the rectilinear volumes of the containers are offset and cantilevered to create a range of amenity spaces; private terraces at second floor; and a new public patio that augments the underutilized plaza to the east. A variety of apertures are cut into the boxes to ensure naturally lit and comfortable spaces inside the structure, which rises up to a double-height projection addressing the street. The building is complemented by a robust urban landscaping scheme that repurposes industrial liquid shipping containers as enclosures, planters and light features.

Project: Oklahoma City Police Headquarters     |     Architect: ADG, P.C.

pc-aiacoc002-1-simon-hurst  Photography By: Simon Hurst

The City of Oklahoma City’s goal was a new Police Headquarters that would showcase state-of-the-art community policing. The graceful architecture of the new building makes it stand out as an efficient base of operations and welcoming nerve center for police services.

The Police Headquarters was built on the western edge of downtown. The new three-story building is a modern adaptation of the Civic Center District design style. Sitting atop the 88,000-square-foot headquarters is a sloped diamond-shaped metal atrium roof—or “hat”—that is an iconic identifier for the West Downtown area.

Upon entrance visitors are greeted at the information desk and records units at the first floor lobby by a large two-dimensional depiction of the OKPD police badge in the terrazzo floor. Capping the atrium are clerestories beneath the underside of a dramatic metal roof cap.

The new headquarters is built to last with durable, timeless materials and finishes.

Blonde, black and red brick, as well as tan calcium silicate masonry units resembling limestone, clad the four quadrants of the building. The stonework reflects the Art Deco design elements of surrounding WPA-era buildings constructed in the 1930s.

Project: GE Global Research Center     |     Architect: Miles Associates

pc-aiacoc029-001Photography By: Simon Hurst

The GE Global Research Center in Oklahoma City features a 5-story unconventional laboratory, flexible and open office space, a conference center for clients and a showroom.

Throughout the 120,000 square foot facility, innovation is on display. The majority of the building wraps around the high bay lab with windows and views into the laboratory from the conference and office spaces. The showroom displays the ground-breaking discoveries made through the research taking place. The conference center highlights GE’s partnerships and provides for the collaboration needed to fuel the research occurring within. The views from the street to and through the building offer a connection to the surrounding community. The finishes within the space contribute to the building maintaining its identity while blending with GE’s corporate identity and building standards.

From the selection of the site, to the character of textures and materials, to the stunning views from any angle, GE’s 8th Global Research Center was designed to make a statement locally and internationally.

 Project: Sunbeam Family Services     |     Architect: Rees Associates, Inc.

Sunbeam Clinic Photography By: Joseph Mills Photography

Sunbeam Family Services is an Oklahoma City based not-for-profit organization that was in need of a new facility that is both technically advanced and operationally efficient. Sunbeam offers services to the community including leadership groups, early childhood education, counseling, foster care, senior companions, respite care, caregiver fundamental training and a senior shelter. The new space REES designed is intended to address current space needs and Sunbeam’s anticipated growth.

Project: Buffalo Marriott HARBORCENTER     |    Architect: GSB, Inc. + Populous

pc-039-01 Photography By: Kim Smith

The Buffalo Marriott HARBORcenter hotel is the centerpiece of the HARBORcenter mixed-use development, which also includes street level restaurant/retail space, a 5-level parking structure, two competition ice hockey rinks and a hockey performance training center. The high-rise hotel features 205 guestrooms, as well as the new Marriott Great Room concept, a multi-use lobby space allowing guests to work, relax, eat and socialize. Additionally, there is 6,000 SF of event space, including a ballroom, meeting rooms and an executive boardroom. This full-service hotel also features a fitness center, the M Club lounge and a dramatic presidential suite overlooking the Buffalo waterfront and Lake Erie. GSB, Inc. served as architect for the hotel, while the Populous designed the remainder of the mixed use development and the building envelope.

Project: Catholic Charities     |     Architect: Mass Architects, Inc.

pc-aiacoc022-01 Photography By: Simon Hurst Photography

This vision for the new headquarters for Catholic Charities began through a design competition held amongst some of the top design firms in OKC. The concept set forth by the architect was selected as that which most accurately grasped the mission of this charitable organization and directly translated it to the context of the City around them.  Borrowing proportions and details of the historic nature of Midtown, an emphasis was placed on the street, presenting the facade to the very population they strive to serve.

The facility houses all departments of Catholic Charities with a very open public lobby, a training center, a dedicated chapel, warehouse space, and even incorporates production space for Catholic Broadcasting.

The structure book ends the west boundary of Midtown OKC and becomes a vital part of the ‘Corridor of Hope’ shaping up along Classen Blvd. This hope is illustrated through the iconic column on the corner, gently internally lit as the Lantern, symbolically inviting patrons and volunteers alike.

Project: Joan Kirkpatrick Animal Hospital at the OKC Zoo   |  Architect: GSB, Inc.

exterior2med-2 Photography By: Larry J. Foster

The $9.2 million Joan Kirkpatrick Animal Hospital at the Oklahoma City Zoo is one of only a handful of zoos around the country that provides the public the opportunity to observe procedures ranging from preventative health exams to surgeries. The 2-story 20,000 SF facility includes a visitor gallery, surgical areas, pharmacy, radiology room, food-preparation area, labs, isolation rooms, necropsy room, and even a furnished apartment where staff or visiting veterinarians can stay overnight. From the gallery level, visitors are able to engage with interactive kiosks and observe the veterinarians and staff at work through large windows overlooking the Surgical Suite, Radiology Lab, and Treatment Room.

Project: 1621 N. Broadway Avenue     |     Architect: Common Works Architects

pc-aiacoc0018-01 Photography By: Sam Day

New offices for ICONIC Construction adapted two existing building shells into an office and warehouse through simple interior and exterior interventions. A covered walk visually and practically unifies the two independent structures into a cohesive program. New interior facilities and finishes reference the work ICONIC performs while highlighting the materials of the existing structure.

Project: Elemental Coffee Awning     |     Architect: Common Works Architects

pc-aiacoc0017-01 Photography By: Sam Day

To better serve its Oklahoma City patrons an awning and patio re-design was commissioned for the Elemental Coffee Shop. Using a simple material palate and referencing the rhythm of the existing building façade features an awning was conceived which complements the existing building and shelters patrons from the elements.

Project: Southern Nazarene University R.T. Williams Library Renovation     |    Architect: Troy D. Rhodes & Company, Inc.

pc-013-01 Photography By: Joseph Mills Photography

Southern Nazarene University had dreamed for years of rejuvenating its library wanting instead to create a centralized hot spot on campus where students and faculty alike could gather between classes for a quick cappuccino or hang out with friends for hours. By removing the existing two-story solid E.I.F.S. wall and replacing it with a transparent glass and aluminum curtain wall system, the natural light spills into the building bringing a revitalized modern aesthetic with it. A new exterior plaza and entryway into the building were created directing campus life toward the library. The new exterior entryway signals the dramatic interior changes including a transformation of old library stacks into a vibrant campus hub. The renovated spaces include a Starbucks coffee shop, multiple student lounge spaces, new offices for the student development staff, an exterior plaza with steel canopy, as well as modern landscaping and lighting. The campus of Southern Nazarene University now includes a stunning, inviting, and revived library that will continue to equip students for academic success.

Project: Variety Care Administration Building     |      Architect: Hornbeek Blatt Architects

pc-003-image-1 Photography By: David Hornbeek, AIA

Variety Care is a Health Services company providing affordable health care to lower income individuals. The new administration building provides 20,000 square feet of space for the management of all the satellite medical facilities of the company and includes an open office space, private offices, executive offices, conference rooms, a large training space, and a full time call center space. The building is based on an environmentally sensitive program that includes lighting control, sustainable materials, and a geothermal wellfield. This project is designed with progressive Architectural elements such as a space frame supported roof structure encompassing a large open space and a dramatic cantilevered canopy that welcomes each visitor to the building.

Project: Toronto Raptors Practice Facility     |     Architect: Guernsey

 pc-0023-001 Photography By: Melissa Willis

Guernsey teamed with Toronto-based engineering consultants to design the new Toronto Raptors Practice Facility in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The 69,000 square foot facility is one of the premier practice facilities in the NBA and was completed on a fast-track design and construction schedule.

The facility is a multipurpose, City-owned facility that has professional basketball practice areas, therapy areas, dining areas, classrooms, and offices. There is also a full-service kitchen, strength training, and media accommodations. Specifically, the facility has two full size practice courts with two additional practice side goals on a state-of-the-art wood flooring system. Locker rooms feature custom-designed lockers, steam rooms, a dry sauna, a high tech sound system, television monitors, a massage area, and a nutrition bar. As a City-owned facility there were requirements of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment to provide space that could be utilized by the public with proper approvals. This requirement led the design team to provide a retractable wall systems housed in the ceiling of the courts to provide both a court for public use while allowing the team to maintain their practice schedule and operations uninterrupted.


Project: Mason Residence     |     Architect: ADG, P.C.

pc-aiacoc001-1-simonhurst Photography By: Simon Hurst Photography

The goal of the design was to create a house that would optimize a small residential urban lot, maximize opportunities for outdoor living and optimize views out to the Oklahoma City downtown skyline.

The home includes two stories of living space with a garage basement. A roof deck caps the home and affords sweeping views of downtown to the south. Connection to outdoor living was maximized by pushing the home to within five feet of the property line on the west and reserving nearly half the site for a linear outdoor living space.

Large east-facing windows create a brightly-lit home that transforms into a glowing lantern of a home during evening hours. The first floor is tiered with the kitchen higher than the living room. A central open stair topped with a light monitor ensures that light can get all the way to the first floor.

A study and lush bathroom are located on the first floor. Two bedrooms, including the master suite and sitting room are located on the second floor. Views out to the downtown skyline are maximized on all southern elevations.

Building materials are brick, stucco and Resysta recycled composite siding.

 Project: Jesus Saves     |     Architect: Allford Hall Monoghan Morris

 pc-aiacoc025-01-jpg Photography By: Timothy Soar

The building explores modes of regeneration by transforming a former industrial building into a two-family dwelling in Oklahoma City’s Automobile Alley. The existing two-story brick shell is bounded to the south with a large terrace atop a garage, while new stucco and signage – both acknowledging found conditions – define the street façade.

Internally, a new steel structure, staircase and a minimal number of walls are inserted into the building to divide it into two principal volumes: the two-bedroom residence above and the one-bedroom residence below. Each residence connects to its own external room to augment living space while creating a buffer to the surrounding streets. These external spaces are wrapped with a bamboo veil that provides both privacy and shelter whilst maintaining a degree of transparency.

Project: The VUE     |     Architect: The McKinney Partnership

pc-0015-01 Photography By: Curtis Worthy, Image Action

The Vue is a new contemporary apartment in Norman, OK. The architect and developer worked together to create a unique living option for students and young professionals. The Vue attempts to fill the void of high-density urban housing in the area, with easy connectivity to the University of Oklahoma, the Research Campus, and more. The five building, four story complex is connected by covered breezeways and two stair towers wrapped in a translucent metal mesh. Brick, gray stucco, and red composite panels are used on the exterior to seamlessly blend the contemporary concept with the more traditional surrounding buildings. This one of a kind facility offers its residents unique amenities, such as a FEMA storm shelter on each level, electric car charging station, and a lounge pool. Eco-friendly synthetic grass was used throughout the exterior to reduce maintenance and water usage. A stunning rooftop terrace crowns the complex and provides quintessential urban living in the heart of Norman. It includes a kitchen, garden area, and relaxed seating, with an unbeatable view of the OU campus.


Project: Southern Nazarene University R.T. Williams Library Renovation     |     Architect: Troy D. Rhodes & Company, Inc.

pc-012-01 Photography By: Joseph Mills Photography

Southern Nazarene University had dreamed for years of rejuvenating its library wanting instead to create a centralized hot spot on campus where students and faculty alike could gather between classes for a quick cappuccino or hang out with friends for hours. By removing the existing two-story solid E.I.F.S. wall and replacing it with a transparent glass and aluminum curtain wall system, the natural light spills into the building bringing a revitalized modern aesthetic with it. A new exterior plaza and entryway into the building were created directing campus life toward the library. The new exterior entryway signals the dramatic interior changes including a transformation of old library stacks into a vibrant campus hub. The renovated spaces include a Starbucks coffee shop, multiple student lounge spaces, new offices for the student development staff, an exterior plaza with steel canopy, as well as modern landscaping and lighting. The campus of Southern Nazarene University now includes a stunning, inviting, and revived library that will continue to equip students for academic success.

Project: JE Dunn Construction Company Office    |     Architect: ADG, P.C. & Jeff Napoliello, AIA

pc-aiacoc014-01 Photography By: David Cobb

JE Dunn Construction’s office build-out transformed 7,500 sq. ft. of warehouse space on the second floor of a 1911 Bricktown building into modern office space. The vision for the project was to:

– Maintain the historical integrity of the original structure and gracefully transform the space into a progressive and modern office that reflects JE Dunn’s local culture and brand.

– Create an atmosphere and ambiance that reflects a sense of transparency and warmth by elegantly blending new and modern materials with the original brick and wood.

– Create open and inviting spaces that promote a spirit of collaboration, creativity, and teamwork.

– Repurpose original building components to seamlessly blend the old and new by establishing a balance between the history of the building and new modern office use.

The architectural concept was to create a corporate office space that reflects and celebrates the culture of JE Dunn Construction’s Oklahoma City operations. That culture embraces an ambiance of teamwork and collaboration by fostering an energetic sense of warmth and community. The concept focuses on creating a sense of openness, collaboration, and transparency, while cohesively blending the old and new through the harmonious use of form, detailing, color, and texture.

Project: The Drake     |     Architect: Gardner Architects

pc-031-01 Photography By: Jamie Fleck

This Seafood and Oysterette Restaurant is located in the heart of Oklahoma City’s Uptown district. The uptown district lives along a stretch of historic Route 66, just north of downtown.  Uptown is in the midst of a resurgence where many of the historic structures and spaces are being revitalized. The corner location offers an expansive view of a bustling uptown intersection.  It also provides generous amounts of natural light to the space, reinforcing the owner’s mandate to have a crisp, light and airy space. The owner’s original design intent was: “a nautically inspired interior, without the fish nets and bobbers…and to incorporate some art deco motifs from the existing historic building.” The design solution relies on subtle shifts of color, mostly pastels, offset by warm, white-washed wood tones and brass accents.  The crescendo of which takes place at the back bar. The deco inspired golden scallops are extruded to create a custom shelving system.  The super white marble bar top and bar front create a striking backdrop for the white-washed oak round booths with their custom brass light fixtures. The synthesis of these creates the backdrop that enhances this unique, family style, culinary experience.

Project: REHCO     |     Architect: Fitzsimmons Architects

pc050-01 Photography By: Joseph Mills Photography

The REHCO and Midtown Renaissance corporate offices are located on the top floor of the historic Buick Building in the Automobile Alley district of Oklahoma City. From that location, they offer an expansive view of the downtown skyline and tastefully respect the historic nature of the surrounding area and the building itself.

The design of the office is based on a Buick Straight 8 Fireball engine, which sits in the reception area as an art installment atop one of eight lit “piston” tables. The space is finished with expanses of wood, glass, and steel. All electrical and HVAC pathways are hidden under the raised wood floor. Historic skylights fill the space with light. A custom glass and steel conference table features sliding surfaces to offer maximum visibility for meeting participants. There are also operable features such as a sliding partition made of historic doors from the surrounding Midtown area and a hydraulic lift that opens an entire section of the original 1920s steel-frame windows. When this lift is open it creates an indoor balcony open to the downtown views.

Project: OU Bizzell Library Collaborative Learning Center     |     Architect: Rees Associates, Inc.

Bizzell Library, OU Photography By: Joseph Mills Photography

The University of Oklahoma engaged REES to develop a new Collaborative Learning Center for Bizzell Memorial Library. The main objectives of the project were to create student “owned” collaborative areas, a collaborative classroom, and a digital scholarship lab for faculty and students. REES also designed a transparent multi-purpose room and an expanded café. This floor of the library is intended to be a collaboration hub with furniture and technology that is adaptable and easy use. This is the first major step in a comprehensive re-development of the entire Bizzell Memorial Library.


Project: Oklahoma Contemporary Showroom     |     Architect: HSEarchitects

pc1-aiacoc004 Photography By: Joseph Mills Photography

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 structure could be dismantled, mobilized and reconstructed as a satellite gallery.

An ideal solution, known for its adaptive re-use, was the use of shipping containers. The containers provide structural and sculptural ‘building blocks’ that are best suited for a temporary, portable assembly. The two bottom containers house the library, administration, restroom and gallery. The top unit offers full gallery space while the vertical unit contains the stair and light well, naturally illuminating the interior space. The overall structure is oriented at a 45 degree angle to allow visitors an elevated and framed pictorial view of the new arts center’s site. After hours the interior space is illuminated with programmable LED’s which provide visual impact and interest along Automobile Alley.

Project: 816 N. Walker     |     Architects: Studio Architecture

pc-032a Photography By: Simon Hurst Photography

This project is a renovation of a long-unused long-span bow string truss building in inner-city Oklahoma. Exterior renovation focused on preserving and restoring the facades, while interior renovations sought to use simple materials in unique ways to subdivide the space for office functions while maximizing the experiential volume of the long-span area.

Project: First Mortgage      |     Architect: Studio Architecture

pc-033a Photography By: Simon Hurst Photography

Interior and exterior renovation of a mid-1970’s 3-1/2 level suburban office building – including opening and modernizing the atrium and building facades, new entry vestibule and balconies from the main parking area, and seismic and life safety improvements.

Project: Hotel Breakers at Cedar Point     |      Architect: GSB, Inc.

pc-037a Photography By: Scott Pease

Opened more than 100 years ago, the Hotel Breakers is adjacent to Cedar Point Amusement Park. This $56,000,000 renovation and addition brought the entire resort up to modern hotel standards while respecting the original design intent inspired by chateaus in France’s Loire Valley. The 511 key hotel includes multiple restaurants, meeting space, fitness center, concierge lounge, and indoor and outdoor swimming pools. The most noticeable improvements are the new arrival and porte cochere, a renovated Main Lobby and Rotunda that features a Starbucks, the lobby lounge, and new premium guestrooms.

Project: 21 c Museum Hotel     |     Hornbeek Blatt Architects & Deborah Berke Partners

 21c-pc-image-1Photography By: Mike Schwartz (c) 21c Museum Hotels

The project was an adaptive reuse of the historic Ford Motor Company Assembly Plant, originally built by Henry Ford, and is a contemporary interpretation of the building’s industrial heritage. Located at 900 W Main Street on the West End of downtown Oklahoma City, at the west end of “Film Row,” the 21c Museum Hotel Oklahoma City is a 135-room boutique hotel with “loft-like” accommodations, and fills 180,000 square feet of the 200,000 square foot original manufacturing plant. With a contemporary art museum, and home to Mary Eddy’s Kitchen and Lounge, the 21c Museum Hotel offers 14,000 square feet of a new cultural civic center and contemporary art exhibition space open free of charge to the public. The property’s museum space doubles as event and meeting space, and can accommodate a wide variety of activities from board retreats and intimate cocktail parties, to a reception-style wedding for 500.  The unique circular Main Gallery, and adjoining Gallery 1, is a nimble event space, with sound attenuation drapery, movable partitions and a private full-service bar.  There is an additional 20,000 square feet of lease space that is fully occupied. The design team of Executive Architect – Hornbeek Blatt Architects of Edmond, OK and New York based Design Architect and Interiors – Deborah Berke Partners sought to create a contemporary interpretation of the building’s original/functional form – integrating elements of the automotive and assembly plant legacy throughout.

Project: OCU School of Law     |     Architect: Frankfurt Short Bruza

pca-ocu-law-school Photography By: Simon Hurst Photography

From run-down to renaissance–Erected in 1910 as Oklahoma High School — at that time Oklahoma City’s only high school — this majestic, gothic-style stone building was a source of great civic pride, with many of the state’s future leaders educated within its walls. Designed by renowned early-day Oklahoma architect Solomon Layton, the building had many cutting-edge features for its day, such as a theater complete with projector booth. Although abandoned in 1968, in 1973 the Oklahoma Historical Preservation Commission achieved its goal of adding the building to the National Register of Historic Places, where it joined a list of 22 other Solomon Layton buildings registered across the state.

Flash forward to 2014.  Oklahoma City University officials approached FSB about the feasibility of turning the building, with its convenient location adjacent to the Oklahoma County Courthouse and major legal offices, into a new home for its law school. The majestic outward appearance strongly appealed to the school’s officials, who envisioned it as a stately and suitable home for their top-tier law school.

All MEP systems were updated, interior surfaces throughout the building were repaired and intricate plasterwork on the balcony restored. The building’s stone exterior, with its distinctive arched entryways, was left largely intact, although new, energy-efficient windows were added. The building’s renovation also added a functioning courtroom.

Since moving into its new home in December of 2014, OCU law school officials report a major spike in student enrollment, and they credit the bulk of this increase to the attractiveness of the new building.


Project: Chickasaw Visitor Center     |     Architect: Frankfurt Short Bruza

pca-chickasaw-visitor-center Photography By: Insight Visual Media

Built to Entertain, Inform, Enlighten– Visitor’s Center Celebrates All Things Chickasaw

Nestled into the base of Oklahoma’s Arbuckle Mountains lies one of America’s oldest national parks, the Chickasaw National Recreation Area. This local tourist mecca has a special place in the heart of the Chickasaw Nation, a connection that’s been literally set in stone following construction of a new Visitor Center.

Located at the entrance to the recreation area, the facility serves as both a welcome center and administration building for the entire park. Designed to attract and educate visitors about tribal history, local attractions and the park in general, the architecturally charismatic building’s façade features natural stone matching that used on the nearby Chickasaw Cultural Center and additional park buildings. The Chickasaw tribe’s inherently close ties to the land they have occupied for more than a century enhanced their desire to utilize green technology throughout this showpiece facility. FSB’s design, architecture and programming services were thus created to meet LEED Gold sustainability standards.

FSB’s design incorporated the use of native stone and other regional/renewable materials, including distinctive copper paneling. The design and installation of the center also utilizes high-efficiency mechanical systems, low-flow water fixtures, photovoltaic panels, triple-pane low-E window glazing and low-emitting finishing materials. Low-maintenance landscaping featuring native plants, and a state-of-the-art rainwater harvesting system provide additional cost-effective and environmentally friendly elements. In all, more than 20% of the materials used during construction of the Visitor’s Center were made from recycled content.


Project: OKC Innovation Link      |     Architect: Miles Associates

pc-aiacoc030-01-reduced Image By: Miles Associates (Chris Pritchard)

The OKC Innovation Link is a proposal to improve connectivity between the east and west sides of the Innovation District. It will transform the I-235 “barrier” into a new place that encourages pedestrian and bicycle traffic.  It will create space for 350,000 sq. ft. of new buildings, and below-grade parking for 1,300 cars.