OKPOP Museum selects Architectural Design Team

TULSA, Okla. — The Oklahoma Historical Society is moving forward with plans to build the Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture (OKPOP) in downtown Tulsa’s Brady Arts District by selecting the architectural design team of Lilly Architects, a firm based in Tulsa, and Overland Partners, based in San Antonio, to provide architectural and engineering services for the project.

“The OKPOP Museum will be dedicated to telling the story of the creativity of Oklahoma’s people and their influence on popular culture around the world,” said Jeff Moore, director of the OKPOP. “The underlying theme of this innovative and interactive museum will be the idea of Oklahoma as a “Crossroads of Creativity,” as shown through the state’s contributions to the fields of music, film, television, theatre, pop art, comic books, literature and humor.” The OKPOP staff is actively collecting artifacts, photographs, archival materials, film and video and audio recordings that represent Oklahoma’s incredible creative history.

Under the guidance of Oklahoma’s Office of Management and Enterprise Services Construction and Properties Department, five architectural teams were interviewed in Tulsa in April by a committee composed of 18 Oklahomans from across the state. “The panel had the very difficult task of selecting one of five very capable teams. It was encouraging to see the effort that these firms put into their presentations,” said Paul Haley, project manager for the Construction and Properties Department.

The committee chose the architectural design team led by Chris Lilly, principal at Lilly Architects, and Tim Blonkvist, founder of Overland Partners. The team also includes Tulsa-based Wallace Engineering and Arup, an international firm that will provide additional engineering, acoustical and consulting services.

Lilly Architects will be the architect of record and has extensive experience in projects in Tulsa’s Brady Arts District. Chris Lilly, who was raised in Seminole, sees the OKPOP as a statewide museum. “Showcasing the value of our rich cultural heritage, OKPOP will serve as an enduring testament to the outstanding creative spirit within Oklahomans,” said Lilly.

Overland Partners is a firm based in San Antonio and has worked on award-winning museum projects around the world, including the Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur. Citing the unique opportunity of designing the OKPOP, Tim Blonkvist, who will be the lead designer on the project, said, “Our team is elated to work with the Oklahoma Historical Society to design a visitor experience that is one of a kind. The OKPOP will be an iconic destination that expresses the collective ‘Oklahoma Experience’ through a quilt of stories represented by each individual artist, connecting them to their fans and the world.”

“The expertise and professionalism of Wallace Engineering and Arup will allow the OKPOP to reach its potential,” said Moore. “Tom Wallace worked on the Oklahoma History Center and Arup’s work includes the Sydney Opera House and designing studios for Skywalker Sound, so they have an understanding of the quality we are striving for in the OKPOP.”

Along with Lilly Architects and Overland Partners, the OKPOP team will begin designing the building this spring and summer, followed by construction documents and ground breaking in the fall of 2017. As far as location is concerned, Dr. Bob Blackburn, executive director of the Oklahoma Historical Society, said, “We are exploring several opportunities that have been brought to our attention in the Brady District. Thanks to the active participation of Tulsa community leaders, we will find the best location that will allow for the greatest sustainability for the OKPOP.”

The Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture (OKPOP) is a division of the Oklahoma Historical Society. The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma. Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains 30 museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state. Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs and publications the OHS chronicles the rich history of Oklahoma. For more information about the OHS, please visit www.okhistory.org.

Editor’s Note: Photographs are available upon request by contacting Jeff Moore at 405-522-0692 or jeffmoore@okhistory.org.

A project of the Oklahoma Historical Society
© Copyright 2020 • All Rights Reserved.   Site Map | Contact Us | Press Room