Today as we celebrate the 1976 anniversary of our firm, we applaud Downtown Oklahoma City’s recognition of Rand Elliott, FAIA with its top honor, the Dean A. McGee Award. As the first architect in the 35-year history of the program to receive it, Rand’s award is seen as a nod to the role architecture plays in the life of a city.
The evidence shows Dean McGee agreed. In fact, he brought downtown Oklahoma City one of its finest buildings. It was McGee who hired the prolific Italian architect Pietro Belluschi to design the landmark 30-story Kerr-McGee Tower (now Strata Tower), which has graced downtown since 1972. For his design, Belluschi received the architectural profession’s highest award, the American Institute of Architects’ Gold Medal. It has remained one of Rand’s favorites.
At the Awards gala, Rand’s congratulatory video featured Mayor Holt and Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center Director Jeremiah Matthew Davis, who reflect on Elliott’s ongoing impact downtown. Cited are projects such as the 2008 transformation of OKC’s mile-long tunnel system. Renamed The Underground, it’s an experience in art and luminous color-coded way-finding.
“The Underground, about 15 years ago — I think that was when his work really broke through in the public consciousness.” –OKC Mayor David Holt
Beyond his record as a giant among geologists, McGee’s Tower transformed downtown, much like the Devon Tower did, decades later. He was passionate about making downtown a “people place.”
It’s a legacy every Dean McGee award winner shares. We’re proud Rand is among them.
Strata Tower, costar.com
Dean A. McGee, Oklahoma Hall of Fame