Oklahoma Weather Museum / Tornado Tower
KKT envisioned a1920s 28,000 SF two-story warehouse as the base for a tornado-shaped Oklahoma Weather Museum and Research Center, using an iconic image of danger for Oklahoma and the Great Plains as a place to examine the storms’ history and research mitigation for them. The 200-foot-tall building concept houses the museum, severe storm laboratories, storm-chaser training centers, classrooms, auditoriums, indoor and outdoor event venues, and support spaces. Elevators transport visitors to the tower’s various floors, including indoor and outdoor levels used for art exhibitions and other events. A spiral staircase also winds around the tower’s core.
A revolving restaurant and bar tops the “Tornado Tower,” offering a 360-degree view of the Tulsa skyline, the Arkansas River, and Osage Hills. The counterclockwise rotation mimics the direction of northern hemisphere tornados. The exterior is clad in glass and perforated-metal panels with LED lighting spaced so the building appears to be turning as drivers pass. The Tornado Tower concept pushed the design envelope, helped Tulsans imagine what downtown could be, and created a worldwide internet sensation generating international interest.