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Guthrie Green Park, SWA Group, urban revitalization, landscape architecture, geothermal, urban park, green park, tulsa

The site of the new Guthrie Green Park was once a 2.7-acre truck loading facility – essentially a concrete jungle. Now it’s a green oasis and community gathering space offering gardens, interactive fountains, outdoor stage with vine-covered ‘green rooms’, a multi-purpose lawn for performances and festivals, and an 11,200-square-foot cafe pavilion. Designed by the Sausalito, CA office of SWA Group, the park sits across the street from the new Woody Guthrie Archives, which used to be the former Tulsa Paper Company Building. Both projects were funded by the George Kaiser Family Foundation as part of an urban revitalization program in the Brady Arts District.

“SWA designed and helped our community develop a magnificent gathering space in the center of a once-forgotten part of downtown Tulsa which is now thriving with arts, music, great food and celebration on almost every day of the week,” said Ken Levit, Executive Director of the George Kaiser Family Foundation. “The park—known as Guthrie Green—almost instantly became “the place to be” on any given sunny day in our city.”

The park is more than just a fun place to play and cool off when its hot. Guthrie Green is also a giant geothermal sink with a ground-source heat pump system buried under the park. After removing the concrete pad, 120 wells were drilled to 500 ft depth as part of the ‘geo-exchange’ system, which generates 600 tons (7.2 million BTU/hour) of heating/cooling distributed via underground pipes to serve 120,000 square feet of nearby non-profit users as well as the cafe pavilion and bathrooms. Photovoltaic panels on the pavilion roof supply power for the heat pump system. The system reduces energy use by 60% with investment payback in five to seven years. Elizabeth Shreeve, principal of SWA Group, the project designer told us, “Tulsa’s new Guthrie Green demonstrates the power of city parks to catalyze revitalization, generate innovative sources of energy, and maximize the benefits of effective private-public partnerships.”

Images ©Jonnu Singleton / SWA