Tulsa, Oklahoma business leaders are proposing a massive change to that city's riverfront: a series of new islands covered with public parks and plazas, residential high-rises, and retail arcades, all made possible by the construction of a massive new dam just upstream. A fusion of superscale urban design moves and various urban lifestyle set pieces (condos, a market, a marina) the Tulsa Channels district would act as both a catalyst for growth and a magnet for a talented workforce. (via)
The Channels begins with an impounding dam at the 23rd street bridge that creates a 12.3-mile lake north to Sand Springs. A 40-acre, man-made island located between the 11th and 23rd street bridges, itself connected by two bridges to the east bank, rises up from the water and anchors the project. The man-made land mass features low- and high-rise residences to the north and south, separated by navigable canals from the public zone.
At the heart of the island is the community focal point, a stone-paved plaza that is the largest open space on the development. Facing the east river bank and channel, as well as a floating stage for performance arts, the plaza is lined in trees with plans calling for cafés and pubs to “spill out into the space.” Much of the parking is subterranean....
Opposite of the plaza on the east bank is a large park, “Tulsa Green,” with stairs cascading down to the water’s edge across the full width of the bank. Renderings depict a beach and large pool located to the south. Visions for the west bank include a marina for boaters.
The Channels concept is the brainchild of Vancouver architect Bing Thom, whose recent work includes the Trinity River Vision in Texas, a massive public works and development plan immediately north of downtown Fort Worth that includes the digging of new channels for the Trinity River around 10,000 units of new mixed-density waterfront housing for one of the fastest-growing cities in the US.
Proponents of the scheme argue that the Channels could give Tulsa the kind of iconic recognition that has always seemed easier for other, larger cities in the region. Long known as a center of the oil industry, the city would instead be seen as emblematic of "new energy"--the Channels plan incorporates extensive solar, wind, and hydro power harvesting via different design elements:
Focal to the project is a several-story high framework canopy that shades the plaza. Covered in solar panels, the canopy is designed to collect sunshine for power conversion, while also serving to cool by up to 13 degrees the open market and other public spaces underneath it....
Estimated to require $600 million in some form of public financing, the group committed to raise $100 million as a gift from the private sector to the Tulsa region. Through the sale of energy created by the project’s hydrodam and other renewable energies, an additional $88 million dollars can be financed, for a total of $788 million.
Shopping under the canopy, below.
Check out another project that echoes the Channels in several ways, here.