Folding Light Oklahoma Contemporary Art

Folding Light Oklahoma Contemporary

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

54,000 GSF

Founded in 1989, the mission of Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center is to keep art accessible; offering exhibits, art camps, classes, and performances. Alvine Engineering assisted in relocating the center from State Fair Park into a new 54,000-square-foot building in downtown Oklahoma City that includes a 301-seat black box theater and a dance studio. Also known as “Folding Light,” architect Rand Elliot designed the building skin to reflect the color of the sky as it changes throughout the day.


  • Special humidity control systems are included in gallery and art storage areas.
  • All ventilation air is introduced into the building through energy recovery wheels. This reduces the energy required to condition the ventilation air by transferring energy between airstreams without actually mixing the air.
  • To provide a clean white aesthetic, fabric ductwork supplies air to the gallery.
  • No two floors within the building are the same and right angles are virtually nonexistent within public spaces. In order to blend in with and reinforce the angular design elements, the track lighting was custom cut to create unique mitered joints.
  • LED lights were used for energy efficiency and to prevent potential damage to artwork by infrared light.
  • To address cost concerns, a wireless lighting control system was designed for the galleries that consists of dimming traditional line-voltage track lighting with low-cost wireless controlled dimmers. Thanks to the over 200 wireless switches mounted in the ceiling, the owner has the adaptability of gallery lighting at a fraction of the cost.
  • Alvine Engineering designed three lights, one for each corner, that run the length of the exposed spire outside the building envelope, creating a “lantern” at night.
  • A wet-pipe sprinkler system was provided throughout the facility with double interlock preaction systems serving the art areas. Smoke detection throughout the gallery and storage areas provides warning of a fire before water is discharged from the sprinkler system.
  • Winner of the 2021 American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) Nebraska Honor Award.
  • Winner of the 2021  Architectural Engineering Institute (AEI) Award of Excellence – Lighting Systems Design

Interested in learning more about projects similar to the Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center? We invite you to view our entertainment/performing arts portfolio.


Photography credit: Scott D McDonald © Gray City Studios

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