Oklahoma City is the unlikely setting for the tallest building completed in the United States so far this year.
Tenants are moving into Devon Tower, which hits 850 feet (259 meters) tall. In addition to the tallest built in the U.S., it is expected to be the third tallest building completed in the world this year, according to CTBUH data.
Construction began on October 6, 2009, as part of the city’s Core to Shore initiative. The city plans to redevelop 750 acres of underused land which lies between the core of the city and the shore of the Oklahoma River. The plan includes pedestrian boulevards, increased retail and business, and implementation of extensive green spaces.
Devon Tower plans on providing office spaces to 3,000 employees, which would promote the professional and vibrant atmosphere desired by the city.
The tower is the corporate headquarters for Devon Energy, one of the largest oil and natural gas companies in the country.
Oklahoma City officials see Devon Tower as a powerful symbol of regeneration projecting a healthy, modern image of Oklahoma City as an important place to do business. The ground floor entrance is a massive, 100 foot rotunda, with a complex structural steel frame, turning it into an auditorium-like space. Stretching west is a 7-story, clear glass podium, offering visitors a view of the tower through the glass roof. The podium has auditoriums, classrooms and offices. Pickard Chilton, the architects, say that they designed the building to be impressive in every sense of the word.
Devon Tower is 1.7 times taller than the 500-foot-tall Chase Tower, Oklahoma City’s previously tallest building. The previous tallest tower in the state was BOK Tower in Tulsa, which is 667 feet (203 meters).
The Devon building was constructed at a rate of about one floor per week. Integration of prefabricated systems increased construction speed dramatically, according to Devon. The building’s 50th floor was topped in September of 2011. Lower floors of the building were already in use while the upper floors are completed.
With a budget of about $750 million, the building covers 1.8 million square feet, including reflecting pools and green spaces at the base of the tower. Designers emphasize that they want the ground level of the structure to be the "heart of downtown," a place for the public to gather at restaurants and shops.
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