Visitors will experience the centerpiece attraction of the Myriad Botanical Gardens in a new way now that the Inasmuch Foundation Crystal Bridge Conservatory is open after extensive renovations for more than a year.
As you go through the beautifully redesigned and accessible space, visitors will enjoy new features like a reflecting pool, new plant collections, overlook terraces and a new waterfall feature. You will also find it easier to learn about the tropical plants in the conservatory – the space will include interpretative signage and exhibits and educational programming. The new Myriad Gift Shop offers merchandise that reflects the Gardens’ mission of horticultural education and conservation. This tropical conservatory opened in 1988 and has always been a popular destination for the Gardens. Now visitors will get to rediscover its beauty.
First Floor Layout
With all new flooring materials and pathway layouts, the renovated first floor of the Conservatory features a reworked waterfall, a new reflecting pool and redesigned plant groupings to aid in the interpretation and understanding of the critical role of plants in the world.
Two Floor Cascading Waterfall
A newly designed, two-level waterfall feature greets visitors as they enter the Conservatory with sounds of water cascading over natural stone. Tropical water plants are getting planted in the waterfall and in a small pool at the base. A new staircase has been built on the west side of the waterfall with a small lookout for visitors to enjoy the views as they walk up to the second level.
Cloud Portal Sculpture
In contrast to the curving lines of the Conservatory, a striking vertical sculpture has been installed in the center of the main pathway to serve as a portal that divides the north and south ends of the space. Walking under it, visitors will experience beautifully framed views of the new waterfall at the south end and a reflecting pool at the north end.
Root Wall and Reflecting Pool
The Root Wall on the north end of the Conservatory serves both form and function. In vascular plants, roots are the organ that supply water and nutrients for plant growth. While we don’t always see them, roots anchor plants to the ground. Here, the artistic depiction of roots serves an aesthetic purpose as well, covering the concrete anchoring wall near the staircase leading to the second level. At the base of the Root Wall is a reflecting pool that showcases exotic water lilies. This peaceful area offers places for visitors to pause and relax.
The former north end lobby has been repurposed into a classroom space that can be adapted to a variety of educational programs and classes.
Visitors can take a rest and enjoy views of the north end of Myriad Botanical Gardens from this second floor gallery-like space featuring improved lighting and seating, rotating exhibits and ambient nature sounds. The view of the Myriad Botanical Gardens offers glimpses of the seasons.
Second Floor North Terrace
At the north end of the Conservatory a new terrace allows visitors dramatic views towards the waterfall and first floor plantings. This terrace provides a new space for visitors to sit and relax, as well as for education programs, exhibits, receptions, and private events. Below the terrace will be a reflecting pool on the first level, and an art panel depicting the intricacies of a root structure.
Second Floor South Bromeliad Terrace
Bromeliads are fascinating plants that have adapted to survive and thrive with a diversity of other plants, insects and animal species. This overlook area is surrounded by a variety of bromeliad species and offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy the views while learning about plants. This terrace is on the south end of the Conservatory, adjacent to the new waterfall.
Children will have the opportunity to learn about the connection between plants and the many animals and insects that support the rainforest ecosystem with a stop in the second floor, interactive Discovery Room located on the second floor, south end. Rotating hands-on activities will also be offered throughout the year.
Sensory Skywalk Third Level
Visitors get to experience a symphony of sounds, tastes and smells on new extended platforms along the third level Skywalk. Each area will overlook the Conservatory and will soon offer an educational interactive display focusing on the senses.
The Myriad Gardens New Gift Shop
Visitors entering or leaving the Crystal Bridge Conservatory will pass a new gift shop in the Visitor Lobby. The shop offers merchandise curated to reflect the Gardens’ mission of horticultural education and conservation. The shop is designed by Charles Sparks, a noted retail designer whose award-winning work can be found in museum shops around the country. The merchandise will be grouped in ways to reinforce narratives about conservation, wellness, climate, seasons, and gardening.
Additional Elevator, North End
A new elevator will improve the accessibility of the Conservatory for all visitors.
For the first time in its 30-plus year history, the Crystal Bridge Conservatory in Myriad Botanical Gardens is undergoing a complete renovation of its interior spaces. Among the many upgrades designed to enhance visitor experience are a new path layouts, educational exhibits, improved ADA accessibility and a new gift shop.
Additional features of the nearly $11 million project include improvements to the Conservatory’s interior aging infrastructure, a more diverse plant collection with both permanent and rotating exhibits, as well as new and enhanced water elements, circulation paths, and sitting areas. A second level terrace feature will overlook the conservatory and add much-needed educational programming and venue space. Improved accessibility, including an elevator, will enable people for all ages and physical abilities to fully enjoy the space.
As the centerpiece of the Gardens, the Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory’s unique design has earned attention and praise in the architectural community. It is 224 feet long, 70 feet in diameter, and is covered by 3,028 sections of translucent, double-layered acrylic panels. The Conservatory includes 13,000 square feet of plant display area in two distinct climates: the Tropical Wet Zone and the Tropical Dry Zone at the north end.
“The improvements planned for the Bridge will ensure that it is as world-class as the outdoor spaces in the Gardens,” said Maureen Heffernan, CEO of Myriad Gardens and Scissortail Park Foundations. “This more dynamic conservatory renovation takes full advantage of the major downtown development just south of the Gardens, including Scissortail Park, the Oklahoma City Convention Center and Omni Hotel. With new educational features planned for the conservatory, learning experiences will be enriched for all ages and contribute to the long term financial sustainability of the Gardens.”
Funding for the project has been provided by Inasmuch Foundation, Devon Energy Corp., Chickasaw Nation, City of Oklahoma City, E.L. and Thelma Gaylord Foundation, Jean and David McLaughlin, Robert Glen Rapp Foundation, Rick Cooper and Donald Karchmer and Kirkpatrick Family Fund.
Read The Oklahoman article by Steve Lackmeyer here.
ADG Blatt Architects, Oklahoma City, OK
Located in downtown Oklahoma City, ADG has provided architectural, engineering, interior design, planning and program management services to owners, building users and communities throughout Oklahoma and in other parts of the United States since 1975. Among its many clients is the City of Oklahoma City and the City of Norman where ADG serves as program consultant for a host of community improvement projects. In 2018, the company was part of the team that redesigned the Visitor Center of the Crystal Bridge Conservatory and classroom spaces for John Rex Middle School at Myriad Botanical Gardens.
Charles Sparks + Company, Oakbrook Terrace, IL
As founder of Charles Sparks + Company, Charles Sparks has more than 38 years of experience in designing for some of the most recognized names in retail and cultural institutions. He has designed for a diverse range of businesses and believes both that good design is good business and that trend is not our destiny.
Exhibit Concepts, Dayton, OH
Founded in 1978, the Exhibit Concepts team is experts in the design, production, and management of experiential environments, including award-winning museum spaces, immersive educational experiences, engaging trade show displays, world-class corporate interiors, and more.
Gecko Group, West Chester, PA
Gecko Group is an education interpretive design firm based in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Their award-winning work in the heritage, tourism, museum, aquarium and zoo fields, helps destinations create user-friendly, authentic and meaningful visitor experiences. With more than 20 years of experience, Gecko Group specializes in branding, wayfinding and interpretive communication and is designing exhibits and the interpretive and educational signage in the Crystal Bridge Conservatory.
Murase Associates, Seattle, WA
A second-generation landscape artist, Scott Murase learned the craft of place-making while collaborating alongside his father, Robert Murase, an internationally acclaimed landscape architect. His multi-disciplinary background in architecture, landscape architecture and sculpture combine to inspire his approach to site design. Using combinations of stone, water, wood and metal, Murase’s work is featured at the Devon Energy headquarters in downtown Oklahoma City, and in the Meinders Terrace at Myriad Botanical Gardens.
Lingo Construction, Oklahoma City, OK
Lingo Construction was started by Stan and Renee Lingo in 1998. Through their determination and resourcefulness, Lingo has grown into a company of over ninety employees. Today, their team includes project managers, designers, engineers, superintendents, carpenters, ironworkers, laborers, and office administration staff.
Take a birds-eye view of the Crystal Bridge Renovation Project, provided by our construction partners Lingo Construction Services. This feed is has concluded.
Got 10 minutes? Watch the history of the Myriad Botanical Gardens and Crystal Bridge Conservatory as told by those who lived it!