Tornado-shaped concept tower tempts fate in Tulsa

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The Tulsa Tornado Tower (also known as the Oklahoma Weather Museum and Research Center) (Image: Kinslow, Keith & Todd)

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If you see a tornado in Tulsa, Oklahoma, you'll want to find shelter pretty quickly. In a considerable display of chutzpah, local firm Kinslow, Keith & Todd (KKT) has unveiled a plan to build a novel tornado-shaped tower in its home city that includes a revolving restaurant and weather research station.

The Tulsa Tornado Tower (also known as the Oklahoma Weather Museum and Research Center) came about following an initiative by newspaper Tusla People that tasked local architecture firms to come up with ideas for redeveloping the city. KKT was given a rather dull parking garage as a starting point, and the firm came up with the idea for the concept.

Rising to a height of between 76 to 91 m (250 to 300 ft), the building would be clad in glass and perforated metal panels, and sit atop the existing parking garage. Though static, its twisting form would lend the appearance of a moving tornado, and this would be enhanced by a revolving restaurant at the top of the tower. Classrooms and an auditorium are slated for the original garage space, while the tower proper would include an observation deck and severe storms laboratory, a weather museum, and outdoor terrace.

A tornado-shaped building located in Tornado Alley getting hit and potentially destroyed by a tornado is too ironic – and terrible – to contemplate, but KKT firm told us that it would be built to the same building codes as other nearby tall buildings, so will fare just as well as any other local similarly-sized tower, despite its novel and fate-tempting shape.

Naturally, we'd advise against holding your breath waiting for this concept to be realized, and KKT cautions that it doesn't know if it will happen. That said, the firm reports that a series of bankers and developers have been in touch showing interest, so perhaps it could yet go ahead. It probably wouldn't be the weirdest building we've ever seen after all ...

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