Tulsa Convention Center2010 Design Award Honorable Mention
Project TeamStructural Engineer: MATRIX AEP, Inc.
Owner: City of Tulsa
Architect: MATRIX AEP/Odell Associates
General Contractor: Tulsa Vision Builders
Steel Joist Manufacturer: CMC Joist and Deck
Steel Detailer: CMC Joist and Deck
Steel Fabricator: CMC Joist and Deck
Steel Erector: Bennett Steel
Operator: SMG Tulsa
Project Type: Non-Industrial
Project DescriptionThe expansion and renovation of the Tulsa Convention Center is part of Tulsa’s VISION 2025 proposition to provide a new Tulsa Regional Events Center and expand and renovate the existing Convention Center. It is expected that the renovated Convention Center will make Tulsa more competitive with other Tier II Cities for Convention Center venues. City officials also believe the new BOK Events Center and the expansion and renovation of the Convention Center will help encourage private investment and stimulate development in Tulsa downtown. The expansion is to the north of the existing exhibit halls and includes a new ballroom and additional meeting spaces for the Convention Center complex. The design is respectful to the existing context while at the same time providing a contemporary and urban solution. It also serves to create a strong identity to the existing facility and ties it to the new BOK Center.
What Makes This Project InterestingElegant solutions to otherwise ordinary design challenges actually became the most interesting features of the building. Adding on to an existing architectural landmark designed by Ed Stone required sensitivity. While replicating the inverted pyramidal stucco shapes of the original convention center was not feasible, echoing the triangularity in the exposed pre-function trusses was a subtle way to pay homage. Rotating the corner massing of this pre-function area by 10 degrees not only turns the corner of the site, but aligns and frames views from the east entry with the BOK Center and downtown Tulsa beyond. The column free 30,000 square foot ballroom has an undulating perforated aluminum ceiling, which breaks up the expanse and creates a light and airy feel, while allowing for accessible rigging points and massive movable partitions.
Advantages Of The Chosen Structural SystemThe many long-span, column-free spaces that were inherent to the architectural design made steel joists and joist girders an easy choice. Both efficient and cost-effective, steel joists were used to frame all of the varied roof levels, whether spanning between wide flange beams at the perimeter, between joist girders that span 71’0” over the meeting rooms, or between 14’0” deep steel trusses spanning 144’0” over the ballroom. Bottom-bearing joists with extended ends were used to span between pyramidal exposed pipe trusses in the main entry/pre-function space, so that the tops of the trusses could be exposed and the roof would “float” above them. The many overhangs, angles and offsets, present in both the new design and caused by the proximity to existing buildings, necessitated the use of extended end joists in many locations.
Project ScopeThe new construction features a 30,000sf column-free space for use as the region’s largest ballroom which can be subdivided into smaller rooms or used in its entirety. Flexibility was the key in configuration of ceiling systems, lighting, HVAC and acoustics. The structural system was designed with several rigging points to accommodate loads from suspended light trusses, sound equipment, banners etc. An efficient connection to the existing facility, an existing parking garage and a future hotel was very essential. An above-ground circulation spine serves to connect the existing and new facilities, a new service drive and an existing parking garage. This spine also transitions into a large pre-function area for the ballroom. Below, a tunnel helps in moving food, furniture and equipment between the facilities. On the west side of the building, up to seven meeting rooms can be configured with the use of movable partitions.
Project DetailsProject Construction Cost: $31.8 million
Joist cost, including fabrication and erection: $197,850
Size (square ft.): 89,800 (new) and 205,000 (renovated)
Roof area using joists (square ft.): 77,400
Joist area (square ft.): 77,400
Joist engineering to delivery (# days): 80
Joist erection (# days): 16
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