Olson Kundig has announced the opening of its new Bob Dylan Center, a warehouse-turned-museum that gives visitors exclusive access to the cultural treasures found in The Bob Dylan Archive(r). The center is headed by Alan Maskin, a design principal. It features a collection of over 100,000 items that span nearly 60 years of Dylan’s career. These include handwritten manuscripts, correspondence, films, videos and original studio recordings.

© Matthew Millman

This design was submitted to an international design competition five years ago. It competed with more than 100 global companies. Maskin and his team didn’t want to build a monument to a Rockstar. Instead, they used the artist’s “creative trajectory” as inspiration for visitors and created the story of his lifetime legacy. The design team was aware that Maskin has been a skeptic throughout his career and would not tell the truth. They also knew there would be a play between fiction and nonfiction. This duality was taken into consideration in the design approach. The team also drew inspiration from two movies: I’m Not There, by Todd Haynes, and Rashomon, by Akira Kurosawa. Rashomon is the movie that established the central narrative structure.

© Matthew Millman

The museum is located in Tulsa’s arts district, near the Woody Guthrie Center. The center, which was once a paper warehouse, is now a dynamic and multifaceted venue that houses temporary, permanent, and traveling exhibitions about Dylan’s work, as well as his influences and projects. Through exhibits, lectures, performances, lectures and publications, the center will be a place to inspire, educate, motivate and inspire people. The team considered three types of visitor experiences when designing the space: ” skimmers, divers” to define the various user profiles that will be visiting the center and how they will interact the museum’s content.

A large-scale mural on the facade of the museum depicts a 1965 Dylan image, donated by Jerry Schatzberg. Jennifer Lebeau directs an immersive film experience that combines archival music and film. The Columbia Records Gallery provides a detailed look at the creation, performance and production of timeless Dylan songs. The Parker Brothers Gallery explores the creative process using the work of other artists.

© Matthew Millman
© Matthew Millman

The center’s media development and exhibition design are done in collaboration with 59 Productions. This multidisciplinary design studio has previously worked on The Opening Ceremony of The London Olympic Games, The David Bowie Exhibition, and The Met Ball decor concept design. The George Kaiser Family Foundation in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is responsible for the project. It’s a charitable foundation that preserves and maintains the archives of important American artists via its sub-company, the American Song Archives.