Studio W Completes Farm Bureau Plaza Project

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Plaza Project Represents 77 Counties and the Native Landscape of Oklahoma

Designed by Oklahoma-based landscape design firm Studio W, the courtyard will contain 77 pillar sculptures, each one in the shape of one of the state’s counties. Each sculpture will also contain soil from the county it represents.

Edmond based Studio W recently completed the Farm Bureau Plaza, a design concept that has been three years in the making and represents all 77 Oklahoma counties and its citizens. A lot are members of this “grass roots organization” statewide.

Stepping out of the building and entering the plaza, you see the dome of the capital that serves as a terminus for the sightline down the main sidewalk.

There is an elevation change in the four planting beds which represent 4 quadrants of Oklahoma per the geography elevation map. The elevation changes start in NW Oklahoma at Black Mesa, the highest point in Oklahoma at 4,975’ and ends at the Little River located by the Arkansas border at 289’ above sea level.

“Studio W designed four different corten-steel pillars that are organized by location into the four different planting beds, each designed at different heights. This symbolizes the elevation change in Oklahoma,” said Zach Murphy, Landscape Designer at Studio W.

In the center of the plaza is the 19’ x 9.5’ Oklahoma Farm Bureau Logo. This is surrounded by pavers bought and engraved by employees, families, organizations and companies that are associated with and trusted by the Farm Bureau. These pavers were sold as a donation campaign that will continue for years to come.

The planting design for the plaza represents the native landscape of Oklahoma, a state which contains twelve “level three ecosystems” making it mile for mile one of the most ecologically diverse states in the country. The plant material selected was organized to coincide with the design intent of the hardscape thus tying into the quadrant concept.

“The completion of our newly renovated plaza couldn’t be timelier. This year marks our 75th anniversary and the dedication of this space will be the first of several events celebrating our storied past. As the largest agricultural organization in Oklahoma, this plaza is dedicated to our members who serve as stewards of the land all across Oklahoma,” said Tom Buchanan, President of Oklahoma Farm Bureau.

A major goal of the project was to utilize at least 60% native plant material. If the material is not native than it was selected to resemble plant material from that quadrant of the state. Studio W did this successfully within the design using 69% native material throughout the site. Ornamental grasses were selected to be the focus of the plant pallet while using evergreen and deciduous shrubs to act as visual accents or to frame entrances to the plaza and buildings. In turn this selection represents the plains, prairie, and crosstimbers ecosystems that make up much of the state. Grasses are seen more heavily on the western half of the site representing southwestern and northwestern Oklahoma. The eastern half of the site utilizes more trees and shrubs to represent the more forested areas of the state ranging from the Ozark Highlands and Boston Mountains to the South Central Plains of Southeastern Oklahoma.

The design has natural curvilinear forms on the periphery of the plaza to transition into the larger part of the site, this is a stark contrast to the dominant hard, clean lines of the architectural style of the building that was built in 1954.

“At night, the pillars are spotlighted by warm LED up lights. The LED comprehensive lighting system allows for specific light shows, color combinations and effects, to illuminate the front sign at the Farm Bureau. The lighting system will incorporate a tasteful fluctuation of light creating an active display of the Farm Bureau logo and company name which is sure to catch the attention of anyone passing by.” said Jason Wilke Owner of Studio W.

The Farm Bureau plans to utilize the Plaza for educational gatherings specifically for school age children, ceremonies, multi-purpose corporate gatherings, and utilized by employees more intimately throughout the day.

For more information, contact, Jason Wilke, Owner, The Studio W, The State’s Premier Landscape and Design Company, jason(at)thestudiow.com, 405.285.5610

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Kelly Burleson
Studio W
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Jason Wilke
Studio W
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