There’s a big, swirling tornado headed for Oklahoma, but, don’t worry, it’s not about to destroy any cars or kill anyone’s children. The monster storm in question is a building–the aptly named Tornado Tower.
Proposed for downtown Tulsa, the corkscrew-like blueprint nods to the region’s weather as well as to the building’s purpose. If constructed, it would house the Oklahoma Weather Museum and Research Center.
“The fact that we’re Tornado Alley and that’s something that Oklahoma’s known for, we couldn’t think of a better way to draw attention to [the project],” says Andy Kinslow, the architect behind the project.
The concept came about after Kinslow, Keith & Todd were asked to submit plans a “reimagining downtown” feature in Tulsa People magazine. Originally, the idea was for a rooftop restaurant on a tall thin pole, like Seattle’s Space Needle. But as the architects gradually filled it out with a lot of plants and indoor trees, it started to look like tornado with debris in it. That’s when Kinslow decided to go full-out for the swirling effect. He achieves it with a mixture of glass cladding, perforated metal panels, and LED lighting for accenting.
The project doesn’t have financing or the official go-ahead, though Kinslow has heard from bankers, councillors and restauranteurs who are interested in being involved. He says Tulsa has a big need for new office space, as the local oil boom has soaked most of everything that’s available.
The 30-story structure actually isn’t that complicated. “It’s a pretty straightforward building. It’s just the way it’s clad on the outside that makes it more difficult,” Kinslow says.