The Gathering Place was George Kaiser’s gift to his hometown. Funded by the George Kaiser Family Foundation and designed by MVVA, the 64-acre park is located just outside of downtown Tulsa and was aptly named to describe its intentions – to become a city hub that would draw people into the city and revitalize the area. The park features unique, man-made topography to bring new life to the landscape, local stone elements paying homage to the many quarries scattered around the Tulsa area, and an abundance of program and event spaces to engage visitors of all ages. The Gathering Place is unifying the suburban sprawl of Tulsa, creating a brand new type of public park, purposefully designed to bring people together.
MVVA is known for their focus on sustainable design and materials without sacrificing function or beauty. This one-of-a-kind outdoor park required materials with reliable availability that could withstand heavy foot traffic. The architects have used black locust lumber in the past, but because it’s prone to insect damage, availability is often limited. The park features a number of large docks surrounding the man-made pond used for irrigation, giving visitors a stunning view of the surrounding area while relaxing at the waterfront. In addition to the many other exciting play areas, it features an ADA-accessible sandbox, with built-in benches and access walkways, part of the Fairy Land Forest. These elements needed sustainable materials that are durable enough to stand up to high traffic without disrupting the natural feel of the park, which was built within an existing forest.
Thermory Benchmark White Ash was an ideal alternative to tropical woods, which are damaging to the environment, and black locust, which is very difficult to obtain.Thermory Benchmark White Ash lent its incredible durability and beautiful aging process to their designs. Like MVVA, Thermory thrives on a company culture of sustainability and responsibility, while holding ourselves to the highest standards of function and beauty. The unequalled rot resistance that results from our thermal modification process made it an ideal choice for the expansive waterfront decks. Because Thermory wood will naturally age to a stunning platinum grey, the wooden docks, walkways, benches and seating areas meshed perfectly with the rustic forest setting as they settled into their final aged patina.
For a project of this magnitude, MVVA didn’t want to blindly purchase thousands of square feet of a new material. Who could blame them? Luckily, Thermory was up to the challenge. MVVA built test projects out of Thermory Benchmark White Ash – a bench in Brooklyn Bridge Park – along with a few other modified wood options. As time passed, they were able to see how each material stood up to heavy use, various weather conditions, and time. Then they chose Thermory. They were able to see the qualities that set our wood apart from the rest – unequalled durability and rot resistance, a stunning aging process, and sustainable practices from forest to finish.
The Gathering Place is an ode to the city itself. George Kaiser, noted Tulsa businessman and philanthropist, wanted to give young people a reason to stay in the city. Tulsa is a suburban city with significant income inequality. The Gathering Place sought to improve the everyday lives of Tulsans, and give them a beautiful, functional park to make them proud to be in the area. Thermory is proud to play a small role in this major philanthropic effort, and our company values of enhancing environments, creating solutions and leaving a lasting impact are mirrored within the larger motivations behind this project.
Our Benchmark Ash decking and cladding provided solutions to the challenges of the project.
60mm FG screw installation.