The George Kaiser Family Foundation has launched a contest for an archive and museum dedicated to Bob Dylan in Tulsa, Oklahoma (Deadline: 12 May)
The two-stage competition seeks a masterplan, design and initial exhibition concept for the landmark complex which will be constructed inside the historic headquarters of the former Tulsa Paper Company (pictured) next to the Woody Guthrie Centre in Tulsa’s Arts District.
The project – dubbed The Bob Dylan Centre – will deliver a venue for the study and appreciation of the singer and recent Nobel laureate, hosting an archive containing 6,000 unique items spanning 60 years of his career.
Tulsa Paper Company
Source: Image by Nicolas Henderson
According to the brief, ‘the centre will be a multivalent venue readily accessible to the public, and one in which artists, historians, musicologists, cultural critics, and others will have a central forum to engage the public and each other with an aim to foster a deeper comprehension of Dylan’s work and the myriad of influences it both embodies and engenders.
‘Finally, as a tacit but important aspect of its core mission, the centre will promote a greater knowledge and a more profound understanding of our world, beyond any single worldview or ideology, in an effort to build cultural awareness and tolerance.’
Dylan was born Robert Allen Zimmerman in 1941 in Duluth, Minnesota, but changed his name when he started performing at folk music events while enrolled at the University of Minnesota in the early 1960s.
Bob Dylan with folk singer Joan Baez during a civil rights march in 1963
Source: Image by Rowland Scherman
Inspired by his musical idol Woody Guthrie, he dropped out of college and moved to New York where he signed to Columbia Records and started to receive global recognition for his politicised works such as Blowin’ in the Wind.
By 1966 he had sold 10 million records, and 50 years on he is still touring the world. Last year Dylan received the Nobel Prize in Literature ‘for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition’.
The Bob Dylan Archive features 6,000 items including handwritten manuscripts, notebooks, correspondence, films, photographs, memorabilia, musical instruments and unreleased recordings. It was acquired by the George Kaiser Family Foundation and University of Tulsa last year.
The collection is currently hosted by the university’s Helmerich Centre for American Research.
Once complete, the Bob Dylan Centre will feature an archive, ‘interactive and immersive’ museum, performance space, research facilities, education area, staff offices and retail.
The winning masterplan will shape the building’s physical structure, conservation, public access and the overall staff and visitor experience. Applicants must first submit a request for qualification, which will be evaluated on professional and collaborative experience.
How to apply
The deadline for applications is 5pm local time (CST), 12 May
George Kaiser Family Foundation
7030 S. Yale, Suite 600
Visit the competition website for more information
Southbank Centre Archive case study: Q&A with Jonathan Tuckey Design
The London practice discusses lessons learned delivering a new archive for the Southbank Centre next to the River Thames
How did your design for the Southbank Centre Archive Studio create an appropriate environment for documents and material relating to the historic arts centre?
In contrast to traditional archives, which are often heavily controlled and hidden from the public, the Southbank Archive is brought into the public realm. Southbank Centre had to relinquish control and be willing to take a risk in letting the public experience the archive in a very hands-on way. Architecturally this approach is realised through a structure that is open from above, with glazed display cabinets built in to the public facing facades, enhancing visibility and transparency. Functionally, the structure and materials conform to archive standards in terms of adequate and appropriate storage, security and protection of the archive material. The shelving, display cabinets, tables and lighting can all be reconfigured in various ways to allow the space to be used as a workplace, a classroom, an exhibition space, an event space, a library and above all a place where the public are encouraged to become intimately involved with the contents of the archive and the work of the archivists.
Which architectural, material and other methods did you harness in your design?
Building inside the Grade I-listed Royal Festival Hall required a light touch approach, with no fixings into the building. Dexion Slotted Angle shelving offered a low-cost, structurally self-supporting solution that could be quickly assembled and reused afterwards. The vertical shelving supports are grouped together in cruciform column arrangements, given a base and a capital and tied together with brass fixings. These columns support double-height shelving, stacked with archive material that gives a sense of the scale of the archive, and is a reference to grand libraries where the vastness of collective knowledge stretches to the ceiling. The whole structure is clad in perforated hardboard and the space is furnished with vitreous enamel furniture and signage. The construction is ennobled through composition and detailing, which hopefully evokes some of the optimistic and palatial spirit of projects like the Bibliothèque National in Paris or indeed the Royal Festival Hall itself.
What advice would you have to contest participants on converting a former industrial building into a new Bob Dylan Centre?
Fred Scott writes about how buildings must sometimes be ‘broken’ before they can be rehabilitated; we often think about how Gordon Matta-Clark made interventions by cutting and removing parts of existing buildings. Sometimes this needs to happen before additions can be made. Looking closely at existing industrial buildings often reveals ways in which they have an inherent grandeur, due to their physical scale and their use of materials robust enough to take on a patina of age. By interrogating the small details of both the building and the brief this potentially civic character can be intensified to support the building’s new life.