Taliesin students to help with Tower Green project

September 13, 2018

Students from the prestigious Taliesin Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture are set to visit Bartlesville this weekend to begin work on design elements for the voter-approved “Tower Green” project.

The weekend events include a public forum for input on the project from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday at the Bartlesville Community Center, 300 S.E. Adams Blvd.

The Tower Green project includes closing Sixth Street between Cherokee Avenue and Dewey Avenue and constructing a public gathering space in the area, between the Price Tower and the Bartlesville Community Center. Voters approved $1.7 million in funding for the project during the March 6 General Obligation Bond Election.

“Essentially, there are several events planned this weekend aimed at helping these students develop design concepts and elements that will be incorporated into a final design for consideration by the City Council,” said Community Development Director Lisa Beeman. “These are some of the best architectural students in the world, and their school’s association with famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who designed the Price Tower in 1956, make them a perfect fit for this project.”

Oversight of the project is in the hands of the Tower Green Design Committee, which consists of City Councilors Jim Curd and Alan Gentges, as well as several other members of the community. The committee is tasked with exploring design options and presenting a selected design concept to the Bartlesville City Council for final approval.

The committee — along with project consultants Scott Ambler, Price Tower executive director, and Val Callaghan, Bartlesville Community Center director — have invited 13 students from Taliesin to visit Bartlesville, obtain public input and hold a “charrette” to inspire various design concepts for the project. A charrette, in this case, is an event that serves “as a way of quickly generating a design solution while integrating the aptitudes and interests of a diverse group of people,” according to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia. “Although the structure of charrettes may vary, the general idea of a charrette is to create an innovative atmosphere in which a diverse group of stakeholders can collaborate to ‘generate visions for the future,'” the website states.

On Saturday, Taliesin students will attend the annual Indian Summer Festival, which is located at the site of the future project, as well as tour Bartlesville and meet members of the community.

A public input session is scheduled for 2-4 p.m. on Sunday at the Bartlesville Community Center.

The students will divide into groups beginning early Monday and will spend the next 30 hours in an “intensive design charrette,” which the public will be permitted to view. Doors will close to the public at noon on Tuesday. At 5 p.m. on Tuesday, the students will present their designs, after which 15 minutes of public input will be accepted before design committee critique begins.

“It will be up to the Project Design Team and the Tower Green Design Committee to take the resulting concepts from the charrette and incorporate the best ideas into a final design that is buildable and that will fit within the budget allowed for this project,” Beeman said.

The committee hopes to present the final design draft to the City Council at its regular meeting on Nov. 5.