Warren Petroleum Executive Headquarters

Warren Petroleum is an early example of SOM’s integration of environmental systems into high-rise architecture. Designed by architect Bruce Graham, the building’s skin is wrapped in balconies that contain an exterior sheet of gray glass, which absorbs heat and shades the interiors from Tulsa’s hot sun. The design was informed by Le Corbusier’s concept of the “neutralizing wall,” a double-skin curtain wall in which air circulates between two panes of glass.

The building consists of a 12-story office tower and two-story cafeteria linked by a stone terrace. When it was constructed, the building was located a mile from the city center in a rapidly developing business district. Due to its location in an outlying area, the program included amenities for employees such as kitchen services, a 200-person dining room, and a terrace decorated with large granite planters. In the years following its construction, other office buildings emerged around the tower, integrating it into the downtown cityscape.

The design pairs stone — including travertine, marble, and granite — with a more lightweight palette of aluminum and glass. Modern furnishings were chosen to complement the building’s architecture.