We will be surprised if Porphyry stone pavers are not part of the final designs for Tulsa’s new gathering place. When the design of a new $100 million plus park is offered to you, and your client is a well funded foundation and the 55 acres they have purchased are perfect; would you jump at the chance?  “The idea of being involved in making something that is like the central park for a city is not a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity but a once ever,” said Michael Van Valkenburgh of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates. https://www.mvvainc.com/ The firm is known for its award winning designs including Hudson River Park in New York and Mill Race Park in Columbus,  Ind.

The George Kaiser Family Foundation has hired Van Valkenburgh to design a recreational, civic and cultural destination. The foundation selected the firm after narrowing the field from 35 companies that submitted qualification packets. The firm also competed with three others in a competition process.

Porphyry has the ability to impart beauty and sustainability to unique paving projects in designs that are intended to be timeless and be easily maintained for centuries.

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About the park

The foundation owns two tracts of land — the Blair Mansion property and the Crow Creek Apartments, also known as the Sundance and Legacy Apartments.

The goal is to integrate the new space into the existing River Parks system while preserving the area’s natural ambience. The Kaiser Foundation has donated more than $12 million for River Parks trail improvements since 2007.

The foundation will hold open house-style public meetings to collect input for the project, which is estimated to cost between $100 million and $150 million and stretch from26th Placeto near33rd Street.

About MVVA

The firm has designed amazing parks in numerous metropolitan areas, and has won the international competition to redesign the grounds and surrounding urban landscape of the St. Louis Arch.

Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates projects:

–Brooklyn Bridge Park, New York

–Teardrop Park, New York

–Hudson River Parks, New York

–Mill Race Park, Columbus, Ind.

–North Grant Park, Chicago

–Allegheny Riverfront Park, Pittsburgh

–Lower Don Lands, Toronto

They are proponents of “ecological urbanism” and “landscape urbanism”.  Ecological urbanism is about city-making that focuses on the landscape elements and the continuity. Van Valkenburgh was chairman of the department of landscape architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design from 1991-1996.

About GKCF

George Kaiser Family Foundation (GKFF) is a charitable organization based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Type I 509(a)3 supporting organization of the Tulsa Community Foundation, dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty through investments in early childhood education, community health, social services and civic enhancement.  GKFF is reported to have a $4 billion endowment. George Kaiser is a Tulsa native, businessman, philanthropist and Chairman of BOK Financial Corporation

The Timeline

May: Creative concepts are revealed and more input is received to refine the project

September: Full project plan unveiled

October 2012 to October 2013: Work on design, technical issues and construction documents

November 2013 to January 2014: Bidding process for construction

Early 2014: Break ground

Construction: Between two and four years.


Porphyry – a natural stone whose composition determines its high compression strength, resistance to stains, slip resistance, and high freeze/thaw ratings.  The stone is the most popular paver in Europe, and is favored for its flexibility in design, beauty, durability and low maintenance requirements. ADA Compliant Porphyry pavers are also adaptable to a permeable paving set. The stone is by far one of the most durable pavers in the world.  These materials are available from Milestone Imports.   –  www.milestoneimports.com