Anthropologie Oklahoma City

Cookie cutter retail environments may promote brand recognition, but often at the expense of spaces that respond to their contexts. Anthropologie, like another company that starts with A, opts for unique stores that nevertheless convey the character of the brand. Fifteen of the stores have been designed by EOA/Elmslie Osler Architect, such as one in Burlingame, California, one in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and this most recent store in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The architect answered some questions about the design.
View of Exterior
What were the circumstances of receiving the commission for this project?

We had designed 14 stores previously for the Anthropologie brand so we were awarded the commission based on our past experience with them.
View of interior garden area
Can you describe your design process for the building?

We always begin with gathering images that inspire and reference a general theme. For this store we thought about the Great Plains of Oklahoma which imply a horizontality as well as a tone. The existing building shell that we were given was already very horizontal so to counter that, we pulled images expressing vertical rhythms, using texture through materiality to imply a landscape. We also wanted to integrate the exterior and interior so we referenced courtyards and large framed openings. We provided three initial sketches of plans and elevations for review and ultimately one scheme was chosen to develop that was a combination of the three.
View of interior garden area
How does the completed building compare to the project as designed? Were there any dramatic changes between the two and/or lessons learned during construction?

We had designed a ceiling of folding planes to create an interior landscape above. On the exterior, there was a more extensive grouping of vertical fluted wood piers. The ceiling became a flat lid and a number of the fluted wood columns were removed due to budget constraints that developed later on in the project. We had also wanted to use fluted columns on the inside and the garden was a more sculptural element. These were simplified, also due to budget requirements.
How does the building compare to other projects in your office, be it the same or other building types?

We had designed 14 other stores for Anthropologie, each one unique. The scale of each store is similar but each has its own identity related to its context. The challenge is to design each store as its own destination yet connect it to the brand as a whole. The process we used for the Oklahoma City store is similar to how we approach all of our projects – listening to the client, working through inspiration sources, thinking carefully about how the space will be used. No matter how different each of our projects may be programmatically, they each have the same underlying philosophy.

Email interview conducted by John Hill.
Anthropologie Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City, OK


EOA/Elmslie Osler Architect
New York

Design Principal
Robin Osler

Project Manager
Sarah Bieri

Project Team
Tim McAndrew
Karolina Szulc

Associate Architect
Phillips Partnership

Structural Engineer
Phillips Partnership

MEP/FP Engineer
Devita and Associates

Murray Costello Construction

Fleetwood Fixtures

Site Area
10,000 sf

Building Area
10,000 sf

Robert Reck