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Old 09-18-2007, 09:15 PM
 
Location: Wind comes sweeping down the...
1,591 posts, read 4,518,231 times
Reputation: 801
Smile The Underground in OKC.

Elliott + Associates Architects (http://www.e-a-a.com/Community/undrgrnd.html - broken link)
http://www.downtownokc.com/Portals/1...ice_map_05.pdf

It is really interesting now...I rememeber the tunnels to be really weird as a child. My Great Grandmother would take me down there to eat at a cafe. She also worked in the First National building for sixty years..No joke...Complaining how the Liberty Tower was going to fall because it was made too fast. lol.
It is one of the largest underground tunnels in the world.

The Way Forward

The article was in the August 2007 issue of Interior Design magazine
Rand Elliott transformed an Oklahoma City tunnel system into the Underground, a walk-in work of art.

by Edie Cohen
Interior Design August 1, 2007


Leave it to Rand Elliott to take art to a new level: 12 feet under. In a project encompassing public and private sectors, he's made sense of a decades-old tunnel system connecting buildings in the center of his beloved Oklahoma City. The way-finding scheme he devised for this pedestrian transport system qualifies as an art installation in itself.

Mixing artistry with utility is classic Elliott. "I've been involved with the arts virtually all my professional life," he remarks. That dates back to the late 1970's, when he became active in the Oklahoma City Festival of the Arts. Today, the staff of Elliott + Associates Architects numbers dozens of designers with painting, sculpture, photography, and music as avocations, and the firm's completed projects include a studio for Ballet Oklahoma and a light-sensitive apartment for the granddaughter of Oklahoma Territory photographer North Losey. "After all," he continues, "what is architecture but a combination of art and science?"

Elliott didn't have to dig too deep to satisfy Downtown Oklahoma City, the consortium that manages the passageways between the 23 buildings—the clients were desperate for a change from the tunnels' raw concrete walls and 1970's-style painted supergraphics. But before making a single physical change, he kicked off the effort with a branding exercise. The tunnel system, begun in 1931 and built mostly between 1972 and 1984, was originally called the Conncourse in honor of hometown banker Jack Conn. Its hip new name, the Underground, conjures up images of a "cool place that's functional, easy to navigate, and a destination, too," Elliott says.

On a more concrete level, the $1.3 million project entailed signage, paint, lighting, and carpet spread out over 3,000 linear feet. First, Elliott created a museum-worthy blank slate. Then came color—with gelled fluorescents. As a navigational tool, he assigned green to the passages connecting banks, blue to the federal buildings, red to county buildings, magenta to hotels, and so forth. In most areas, gray carpet tile with water-resistant asphalt backing covers the concrete floor. Intersections of tunnels are demarcated by black carpet, a band of black paint on walls and ceiling, and colored plastic-laminate panels listing each corridor's destination buildings. The panels' vinyl lettering is color-coded. Similar letters, this time in black, spell out "Underground" on steel columns at the system's 15 street-level entrances.

Ease of transport solved, Elliott had another mission: "Why not educate, entertain, and make people smile?" Coming up with a gallery concept, he turned to the Oklahoma History Center's archive of 6 million photographs. He ultimately bought 125 prints, framed them behind UV glass, and asked local historian Pendleton Woods to write wall labels for the nine subterranean galleries—each colored tunnel is interrupted by a white space hung with black-and-white photographs. In depicting Oklahoma City's evolution, the images also transmit some of Elliott's pride of place.

Another gallery space is slated to host quarterly group shows curated by a representative from a local arts organization—two years' worth of funding has been secured so far. And a related initiative is taking advantage of empty storefronts belowground. In place now for a six-month run is a video project depicting passersby in motion, and Elliott is soliciting proposals for future installations, temporary or permanent. The underlying message: Art is a draw for business investment.

The architect transformed the longest tunnel, 400 feet, into a permanent light sculpture, no photos needed. Walls lined with perforated steel screens are lit from below in glowing yellow and above in complementary blue. Of course, the Dan Flavin comparison is inevitable. For Elliott, though, it was merely a matter of "taking challenging existing conditions and making art."

Leaving no surface untouched, he even replaced convex security mirrors with larger versions—perhaps a touch of Anish Kapoor.


It acually cost more than 2 million...



Rand Elliott is known for many designs in OKC here are some info and designs.
Native Son

Last edited by happytown; 09-18-2007 at 10:25 PM..
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Old 09-18-2007, 10:22 PM
 
Location: Wind comes sweeping down the...
1,591 posts, read 4,518,231 times
Reputation: 801
Here is an interesting article on the tunnels...But they started in the thirties...
The Edmond Sun, Edmond, OK - Exorcising OKC's downtown 'ghost station' - 57k -

Underground's IDA awards no small featRelated Information



The Oklahoman
To this day, the reviews are mixed on the renovation that converted a damp, tired and bleak Conncourse into The Underground, a carnival of brightly-lit tunnels that easily could be home to a Flaming Lips music video.



The underground pedestrian tunnels are yet another unforgettable design by Oklahoma City architect Rand Elliott. And his firm received accolades Monday at the International Downtown Association annual fall conference in New York.

Being declared the winner of the IDA's Public Space award is no small feat. Downtown Oklahoma City was in competition with cities around the world. The IDA, founded in 1954, has more than 650 member organizations that include cities in Europe, Asia and Africa.

The occasion is even sweeter because the IDA also honored former Oklahoma City Mayor Ron Norick, credited by many with making downtown's renaissance a reality.

So yes, this is a big deal.

But this triumph is also a reminder of the conference that got away. Back in 2003, about 300 IDA delegates were preparing to see downtown Oklahoma City for themselves.

Visitors from across the United States and Canada would have seen a post-MAPS Oklahoma City and how the addition of a ballpark, canal and arena, teamed up with other improvements, had transformed a downtown once declared dead.

The spring 2003 conference had to relocate, however, when Oklahoma City somehow couldn't raise the full $40,000 in sponsorship money.

The conference made a last minute move to Houston the city that seems constantly out to steal a valued Oklahoma company.

How embarrassing.

That's then, and this is now.

As evidenced by The Underground, downtown Oklahoma City has even more to brag about than it did four years ago.

Housing is going up everywhere, and downtown districts including the Flat Iron and MidTown, have taken downtown to new heights.

So could Oklahoma City ever hope to again convince the IDA to make a visit?

We can only imagine an upfront payment would be needed a second time around.

But as the city continues its effort to bring its identity into the 21st century, surely an IDA visit wouldn't be a bad place to start.
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Old 09-19-2007, 06:19 AM
 
Location: Hughes County, Oklahoma
3,160 posts, read 7,299,232 times
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Good posts, Happytown. I used to tour the tunnels often in the late 70's and early 80's. I always knew where I was going, but the color coding sounds outstanding. The tunnels, I mean Underground, are a great way to get around downtown without getting hot, cold, wet, or windblown, so you arrive at your destination looking like you want to.
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Old 09-19-2007, 06:30 AM
 
4,137 posts, read 9,956,718 times
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are they still open to the public? Sounds rather nice. Thanks for the great posts Happytown.
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Old 09-19-2007, 07:44 AM
 
Location: Wind comes sweeping down the...
1,591 posts, read 4,518,231 times
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Default tunnels...

The last time I visited the tunnels was around 2 years ago. Nothing was renovated at the time. The carpet smelled of mildew and it was obvious that something needed to be done. It was still busy with business....but the foot traffic had decreased. Everything was like a flashback into the 70s..lol.

It looks great from all the designs. Actually downtown OKC has many sky walks and coupled w/the tunnels people say they dont even have to go outside to get around town....I personally enjoy the fresh air but it really helps in bad weather.

It is open to the public from 7am-6pm. They have new signs above ground that show where the entrances are...
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Old 09-20-2007, 05:00 AM
 
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That is really neat. When we were in Guthrie I noticed that they had steps leading down to something, and now I wonder if these are the same as OKC? I think someone told me about them but I forgot.
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Old 09-20-2007, 06:16 AM
 
Location: Southaven, MS
4 posts, read 10,792 times
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Default Missed stuff

Aunt Jessaka - Looks like we may have missed a lot of stuff in OKC. Maybe when we venture down to Lone Grove we can check out more is OKC. And I can get my steak at the Stockyards!!
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Old 09-20-2007, 06:40 AM
 
Location: Wind comes sweeping down the...
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You can get a great steak here...It is still just a short drive from the Stockyards!
RED Prime Steak Downtown Oklahoma City Gourmet Restaurant Dining Near Bricktown Fine Wines Steakhouse - 12k
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Old 09-20-2007, 06:44 AM
 
Location: Fort Worth/Dallas
11,879 posts, read 24,958,825 times
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Happytown, I hereby appoint you the official Ambassador for the city of OkC. And with it comes all of the privileges of such an esteemed position, such as taking us all out to dinner when we arrive, and so on.

You are hereby granted this status with all of the power vested in me as an ex-patriot Okie..
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Old 09-20-2007, 06:50 AM
 
Location: Wind comes sweeping down the...
1,591 posts, read 4,518,231 times
Reputation: 801
Smile funny....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Synopsis View Post
Happytown, I hereby appoint you the official Ambassador for the city of OkC. And with it comes all of the privileges of such an esteemed position, such as taking us all out to dinner when we arrive, and so on.

You are hereby granted this status with all of the power vested in me as an ex-patriot Okie..
Your funny...But sorry I cant afford RED Prime!
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