NASCC 2017

Night School


Bank of Oklahoma Center (BOK Center) Project Wins National Architecture and Engineering Award

August 10, 2009 from American Institute of Steel Construction

Premier events venue revitalizes City of Tulsa and serves as new architectural icon

(Chicago, IL) – The Bank of Oklahoma Center (BOK Center) project in Tulsa has earned national recognition in the 2009 Innovative Design in Engineering and Architecture with Structural Steel awards program (IDEAS2), and members of the project team will be presented with awards from the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) during a public ceremony at the center on Thursday, August 13 at 1 pm. Conducted annually by AISC, the IDEAS2 awards recognize outstanding achievements in engineering and architecture on structural steel projects around the country.

Project team members include owner City of Tulsa, Okla.; architect Matrix*Odell (Joint Venture), Tulsa, Okla.; associate architect, Pelli Clarke Pelli, New Haven, Conn.; structural engineer Thornton Tomasetti, Inc., Kansas City, Mo.; structural steel fabricator and AISC member Schuff Steel Company – Midwest Division, Overland Park, Kan.; steel detailer and AISC/NISD member Dowco Consultants, Ltd., Burnaby, British Columbia; steel erector and AISC member National Steel Constructors, Plymouth, Mich; and general contractor Tulsa Vision Builders, Tulsa, Okla.

The BOK Center project is a National Award Winner in the category of projects Greater than $75 million, making it one of only four projects in the country to earn an award in this category. Each year, the IDEAS2 awards honor National and Merit award winners in three categories, based on constructed value: projects less than $15 million; projects $15 million to $75 million; and projects greater than $75 million. Each project is judged on its use of structural steel, with an emphasis on creative solutions to project requirements; design innovation; aesthetic and visual impact of the project; innovative use of architecturally exposed structural steel; technical or architectural advances in the use of steel; the use of innovative design and construction methods; and sustainable design.

Located in the heart of heart of Tulsa, Okla., stands the new $178 million, 18,500-seat BOK Center, an arena that serves a multitude of event types from concerts, to sports games, to many other community gatherings. Beyond providing a new venue for Tulsa, the city also envisioned the BOK Center as a new architectural icon as well as the anchor of its downtown revitalization effort. The architectural goal was immediately met.

“Aesthetically, this is the most remarkable stadium project I have seen in a long time,” commented Christina Koch, LEED AP, editor in chief, eco-structure and metalmag magazines, a judge in the competition. “Only steel could have provided the building’s curves, and the metal façade is a nice complement.”

The irregular shape and geometry of the 600,000 sq.-ft. venue required several different innovative engineering solutions that could only be achieved with steel. The selection of this framing system allowed for easy erection, early erection stability, and a flexible rigging capacity of 150,000 lbs for center-stage shows and 120,000 lbs for end-stage shows. The project uses about 4,500 tons of structural steel in all.

Due to the complex geometry of the project, structural engineer Thornton Tomasetti used Tekla Structures software to lay out the columns in the curved, sloping walls to “best fit” the steel structure into the architect’s building envelope, which was prepared in Rhino. Throughout the design process, the team used a 3D model to visualize and coordinate the structural steel transitions and framing with the architect’s vision. Through the use of the interaction between this software, the design team was able to anticipate and resolve coordination issues before setbacks surfaced in the field. The approach worked so well throughout the design process that it became a project requirement for the construction team to share the 3D model amongst the different trades for coordination purposes.

The 11 IDEAS2 winners for 2009 were chosen from nearly 100 submissions received by architectural and engineering firms throughout the U.S. Each submission is reviewed and award winners are selected by a nationally recognized panel of design and construction industry professionals.

The IDEAS2 awards are the highest project-based awards bestowed by the structural steel industry, with the annual program dating back over 70 years to the earliest years of AISC’s existence. Roger E. Ferch, P.E. president of AISC, said, “The entire BOK Center project team has shown how structural steel can be used to create sustainable buildings that combine beauty and practicality. The result is a facility that serves its visitors extremely well, while providing an example of what can be achieved when designing and constructing projects with steel.”

Photos of the BOK Center project are available upon request. Please contact Tasha O’Berski at AISC via e-mail, [email protected], or by phone, 312.670.5439.


For more information contact:
Tasha O'Berski
Communications Department
(312) 670-5439
[email protected]

American Institute of Steel Construction
The American Institute of Steel Construction, headquartered in Chicago, is a not-for-profit technical institute and trade association established in 1921 to serve the structural steel design community and construction industry. AISC’s mission is to make structural steel the material of choice by being the leader in structural steel-related technical and market-building activities, including: specification and code development, research, education, technical assistance, quality certification, standardization, and market development. AISC has a long tradition of service to the steel construction industry of providing timely and reliable information. 

130 East Randolph St. Suite 2000
Chicago IL 60601
Phone: 312.670.2400
Fax: 312.626.2402