21c Oklahoma City — a landmark Ford factory becomes a hotel and contemporary art museum

Oklahoma City, OK
188,000 square feet
Type: Hotels / Adaptive Reuse
Theme: Transforming Old Buildings

21c Museum Hotel Oklahoma City is a 135-room hotel, contemporary art museum with 14,000 square feet of galleries, event space, bar, restaurant, and spa. Building on the mission of engaging the public with contemporary art and supporting the revitalization of American downtowns, 21c Oklahoma City transforms the 188,000 square foot historic Ford Motor Company Manufacturing Building that was originally designed by Albert Kahn, master of modern industrial architecture in the US.

We cut through the concrete floorplate to insert new glass block lightwells that bring natural light into the core of the building. Many of our new spaces, including a distinctive round ballroom, were designed as freestanding objects set within the larger volume. Similarly, the loft-like guest rooms feature self contained floating beds and dressers and spare modern furnishings that reflect the building’s industrial heritage.

New freestanding volumes are inserted within each floor, many of which do not meet the high ceilings of the existing building (15-feet high on the ground floor, and 12-feet high on the upper floors), dramatizing the scale of the space. In the museum gallery, the concrete ceilings are exposed and industrial track lighting is installed for flexible and precise illumination. The raw nature of the space reflects the background of the building and draws on the history of artist lofts.

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It’s endlessly fascinating to put new uses in old buildings. We like to go for maximum contrast: you see what’s new, and you see what’s old. We want every project to be legible and clear. Nothing is restored, and nothing can be ‘fake-old.’

Terrence Schroeder, Principal


Design Architect and Interior Design

Hornbeek Blatt Architects
Executive Architect

Illumination Works
Lighting Design

Albert Kahn
Original Architect


Design Award of Merit
AIA Oklahoma

Honorable Mention for Adaptive Reuse
2016 Best of Design Awards

Citation of Merit
Oklahoma Historical Society State Historic Preservation Office

Interior Design
August 2016

August 2016