FSB spearheads one-of-a-kind historic project, bringing to life Oklahoma’s original Capitol concept.
Eighty-five years after it was constructed, Oklahoma’s State Capitol building remained unfinished, noticeably missing the central dome that was part of the intended design. In the early 2000s, however, as Oklahoma City expanded an ambitious downtown development initiative, financial and public support for completion of the dome simultaneously came together.
FSB was first brought in to conduct a feasibility study/assessment to determine whether the building could physically support the addition of a dome. Once the project was given the green light, it presented an exciting opportunity, as no dome had been added to an existing capitol building in the United States since 1868. The challenges for FSB and our strategic partner, Manhattan Construction, were many: to match the original building’s exterior using modern materials, to incorporate state history into the design, to work within tight budget and schedule constraints, and to create a product that would be under intense public scrutiny throughout construction and beyond.
Extensive research into the state’s archives and the U.S. Library of Congress unearthed documents and photos which provided critical baseline information for FSB’s designers and engineers. The result is a magnificent crown to the Capitol measuring 157 feet in height and 80 feet in diameter. Precast concrete and cast stone were used for the outer dome, while the inner coffered dome was constructed of cast gypsum panels. The dome’s interior color scheme symbolizes the state’s rich Native American history and features bold red, orange, gold and brown colors reminiscent of the state wildflower, commonly known as the “Indian Blanket.” An original stained glass interpretation of the Oklahoma State Seal graces the interior peak of the dome, and features a color palette that harmonizes with the overall inner dome design.
Topping the Capitol dome is a 17-foot, one-of-a-kind bronze statue, “The Guardian.” Designed by famed Native American artist and Oklahoma legislator Enoch Kelley Haney, the statue reflects Oklahoma’s heritage and embraces the spirit and perseverance of its people.
As the first true design-build project the state had ever undertaken, the dome not only had to succeed, it had to excel. FSB’s design and construction team partnered with state officials from the very beginning to overcome any issues and resolve them quickly. The new dome was officially dedicated on Nov. 16, 2002 ─ Oklahoma’s 95th birthday. Today it remains an iconic beacon on the Oklahoma City skyline and a source of pride for all state residents. Meanwhile, FSB is continuing to preserve and showcase our state’s legacy through completion of a massive renovation/restoration of the Capitol building’s interior.