The Philbrook Museum of Art previewed plans for a satellite exhibition and study center in downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 14 at Christie’s in Manhattan.

The Philbrook is working with New York City-based Gluckman Mayner Architects to convert 30,000 square feet of an industrial warehouse — located in Tulsa’s Brady Arts District — into display and educational spaces. The new facility will house The Eugene B. Adkins Collection of Native American Art and The George R. Kravis II Design Collection. With over 1,800 objects shared between the museum and University of Oklahoma, the Adkins collection is considered one of the most respected private holdings of 20th century Native American art in the country.

“People that love this material, love this material,” Philbrook Director Randall Suffolk says of attracting new audiences to the exhibition of Southwestern and Native American art. “The Design Collection is of a quality that will also draw people.”

Architect Richard Gluckman intends for the Philbrook satellite to serve as a cultural center that will help reinvigorate downtown Tulsa. In addition to renovation of the warehouse, the city has developed a “greenscaping plan” to tie the new museum to nearby public spaces, such as a ballpark that opened last year.

“One of the most exciting parts of the project is the major renewal of the warehouse district,” Gluckman says. “Using architecture as a cultural catalyst invariably succeeds.”

According to Gluckman, his firm is working with a familiar building typology — they previously designed expansions and renovations for The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego. But this project —scheduled for completion in fall 2012 — may take longer than expected due to the financial constraints of the current fiscal climate.

Of working in Tulsa, Gluckman says that he has enjoyed getting to know the “great stock” of art deco buildings from the 1920s through 40s, as well as the “simple, elegant, modernist” buildings constructed in the 1950s and 1960s.

The exterior and interior warehouse renovation is largely funded by the George Kaiser Family Foundation, which has allotted $18 million to this project and the larger transformation of public spaces in Tulsa. The first floor of the warehouse will display modern and contemporary works. The second floor will house the Adkins Collection and Study Center. Oklahoma-based architecture firm Kinslow Keith & Todd is renovating the warehouse’s exterior.

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Gluckman Mayner Architects' design for the Adkins Gallery.


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Philbrook Museum Director Randall Suffolk and Curator Lauren Ross at Christie's.