The George Kaiser Family Foundation has selected Olson Kundig as the lead architect and exhibit designer for The Bob Dylan Center™, the public-facing home of The Bob Dylan Archive® to be located in the Tulsa Arts District.
Olson Kundig won first place in the international design competition following an extensive evaluation process by a committee of advisors, including representatives of the George Kaiser Family Foundation and Bob Dylan’s management team. Tulsa-based Lilly Architects is partnering with Olson Kundig as the architect of record and Plains of Yonder is the partner for audio and multimedia experiences for the project.
“After reviewing proposals from top firms around the world, we agreed that Olson Kundig’s experience, talent and design aesthetic stood out as the best fit for this project,” said Ken Levit, executive director of the George Kaiser Family Foundation. “We’re excited about the vision that Olson Kundig expressed for a world-class cultural center that will do justice to the iconic Bob Dylan collection.”
Tom Kundig, FAIA, RIBA, architecture design principal for Olson Kundig said, “This is a deeply meaningful project for us — not only acting as architectural support to Bob’s transformational legacy and creative, disciplined force, but also in preserving the teaching value of his legacy for future generations.”
The foundation also finalized the location of the future Bob Dylan Center. It will be located on Martin Luther King Blvd. in Tulsa, in a space just southeast of the Woody Guthrie Center, which the foundation established in 2013 after acquiring the archives of the influential folk songwriter. In 2016, Dylan cited the Guthrie center as one of the reasons he chose Tulsa for his own archives.
“I’m glad that my archives, which have been collected all these years, have finally found a home and are to be included with the works of Woody Guthrie and especially alongside all the valuable artifacts from the Native American Nations. To me, it makes a lot of sense and it’s a great honor," Dylan said.
The Bob Dylan Center™, expected to open in 2021, is dedicated to the study and appreciation of Bob Dylan and his worldwide cultural significance through six prolific decades of his groundbreaking creative endeavors, from his songwriting and recordings, to live performances, books and films.
As the primary public venue for The Bob Dylan Archive®, the Center will curate and exhibit a priceless collection of more than 100,000 items spanning Dylan’s career, including handwritten manuscripts, notebooks and correspondence; films, videos, photographs and artwork; memorabilia and ephemera; personal documents and effects; unreleased studio and concert recordings; musical instruments and many other elements.
Housing permanent, temporary and traveling exhibitions, the Center will be a multivalent venue readily accessible by artists, historians, musicologists, cultural critics and the general public seeking a deeper comprehension of Dylan’s work, the myriad of influences that it embodies, and the offshoots that he has inspired.
The Center will coexist and interact with two related entities – The Bob Dylan Archive®, located at the Helmerich Center for American Research in Tulsa, the archives’ permanent repository accessible only to qualified researchers and scholars; and The Institute for Bob Dylan Studies at the University of Tulsa, an academic program focused on Dylan and related cultural subjects.