Oklahoma City Council approves commission for MAPS 3 Convention Center interior public art project
Slender, sleek anodized titanium forms will be suspended by aircraft cables in each of the two multi-story atriums facing west across Robinson Avenue. The gleaming forms will capture the natural light pouring in across the downtown skyline.
Titanium is important to aviation because of its strength and light weight, and its use is a nod to Oklahoma’s place among aviation pioneers since Wiley Post’s round-the-world solo flight in 1933.
Small LED lights will also add color to the piece. The lights can be programmed for specific patterns, and can also change based on real-time data inputs to reflect the changing sky.
“It’s technology-driven. You’ll see a dynamic, transparent, colorful piece that accentuates the building’s architectural features and the natural environment,” said Oklahoma City Arts and Cultural Affairs Liaison Robbie Kienzle. “We think it’s going to be a beautiful match for the building that our visitors will enjoy and our residents will be proud of.”
The California-based Narduli Studios has earned commissions for public and private art across its home state, and in Utah and the Netherlands.
The convention center’s total construction budget is the largest-ever for a single project in Oklahoma City, which in turn provides one of the biggest public art budgets in City history. The City’s 1% for Art ordinance requires at least 1 percent of the construction budget for every public project be spent on public art.
The commission for “Virtual Sky” is for up to $1.3 million. Hundreds of thousands of dollars remain in the public art budget for future projects on the convention center grounds. Those will be planned as the Arts Commission and City staff evaluate how people use and enjoy the building in the months and years after it opens.
Visit okc.gov/arts for more on public art in Oklahoma City, including opportunities for artists.
More about the convention center
The MAPS 3 Convention Center’s total project budget of $288 million, including land acquisition and other related expenses, is the biggest in City history for a single project. The construction contract is $168.2 million, $20 million under budget.
The state-of-the art building is east of Scissortail Park along Robinson Boulevard between SW 4th and SW 7th streets.
The convention center’s sleek and modern design features sweeping downtown views, and materials designed for energy efficiency and resiliency against the weather.
The 200,000-square-foot exhibit hall will dominate the ground floor, featuring three operable walls to divide it in up to four flexible spaces. About 45,000 square feet of meeting spaces are on all levels of the building, and many also have operable walls to make the spaces flexible. The rooms can be configured to provide up to 27 individual meeting spaces.
A 30,000-square-foot ballroom is the main space on the fourth level, complemented by 10,000 square feet of pre-function space and a 4,000-square-foot balcony.
Informal meeting spaces, a kitchen, a potential café space, an expansive loading dock and administrative offices are also planned for the convention center.
The gleaming, angular façade has towering glass walls to make maximum use of natural light and takes its design cues from Oklahoma City’s sky, landscape and architectural character.
Landscaping outside the convention center will use native plants and trees well-suited to the local climate, with a focus on sustainability, comfort and beauty. A central plaza and other inviting spaces will help the convention center’s exterior come alive with activity.
Wayfinding stations inside and outside the convention center will be interactive.
The City is also building a new parking garage to support the convention center and Omni Hotel next door.
The City has a marketing contract with the CVB for securing events to be booked at the convention center, and a contract with SMG for facility management.
The CVB and SMG fulfill similar roles now for the Cox Convention Center, which will no longer be marketed and operated at the City’s main convention center when the MAPS 3 facility opens.
About MAPS 3
MAPS 3 is an $805 million capital improvement program to improve the quality of life in Oklahoma City. It is funded by a 1-cent sales tax initiative that began in April 2010 and ended in December 2017. MAPS 3 funds eight projects: Downtown Convention Center, Downtown Public Park, Modern Streetcar/Transit, Oklahoma River Improvements, Oklahoma State Fairgrounds Improvements, Senior Health and Wellness Centers, Trails and Sidewalks.
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