Frankfurt-Short-Bruza Named Firm of the Year

Monday, April 30, 2012

by Laure Majors

Frankfurt-Short-Bruza Associates, (FSB) was named the Soloman Andrew Layton or Firm of the Year award winner Tuesday night at the American Institute of Architects Central Oklahoma Chapter Honor Awards. The award presented once every two years is given to a firm who has distinguished itself over the past five years, to the betterment of the profession and community, through leadership, vision and design. Solomon Andrew Layton (1864 -1943) was the most noted architect of early-day Oklahoma City and created designs for many of the States' most notable structures including the Skirvin Hotel, Oklahoma State Capitol, Medical Arts Building and the Braniff Building. Founded in 1945 as a partnership, Frankfurt-Short-Bruza Associates (FSB) has grown to become one of the largest Oklahoma-owned Architectural-Engineering-Planning firms in Oklahoma City.


Over the years, FSB has played a major role in the growth and development of Oklahoma City. In 1994, then Mayor Ron Norick turned to FSB to help create a masterplan for the future of Oklahoma City which ultimately became the Metropolitan Area Projects or MAPS. FSB's creative vision and design, along with their leadership in helping create consensus among many constituencies and users, helped Mayor Norick lay the groundwork for MAPS to be passed. The firm's creative concept designs for the nine projects helped gain early momentum for the sales tax. FSB's vision for MAPS also extended to other downtown projects. The firm was the first to suggest and create a plan for state officials for the relocation of I-40. FSB was also instrumental in convincing city leaders to move the canal from South Reno Street up to the warehouse district. Donating most of their time in the early stages of MAPS, the firm went on to become MAPS Program Coordinator, stewarding over $380 million dollars in development projects downtown. Then Oklahoma City Mayor Norick noted, "FSB's leadership and community efforts have significantly impacted the landscape of downtown Oklahoma City and will continue to be felt long into the 21st Century." Because of FSB 's national reputation in aviation design and background in helping communities plan for the future, FSB was called upon again in 2002, this time to assist the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce and Battelle-Oklahoma in their aviation growth plans for the City. FSB rolled up their sleeves and began the process to help develop what has now become known as the Oklahoma MROTC project or Oklahoma Maintenance Repair Overhaul Technology Center. This project will ultimately become the key to the metropolitan area's future as an aviation leader.


Like noted architect Soloman Layton, many of the firm's projects have staying power-from the firm's first project on the University of Oklahoma campus in 1947, an addition to the Bizzell Memorial Library, to the award-winning Hertz Data Center designed in 1970, to the timeless 30-year old Kerr McGee Tower, named "One of the 10 Best Buildings in Oklahoma" by the American Institute of Architects. Over the years, FSB 's name has become synonymous with design excellence and in the past five years, Soloman Layton and FSB have also become synonymous. Soloman Layton's downtown OPUBCO building was successfully renovated in 1998 by FSB, earning the Department of Commerce's "Best Historic Rehabilitation in the State" award. This past year, FSB completed the monumental State Capitol Dome project, finishing what Solomon Layton started over 87 years ago and commingling artfully the past and present. Since designing and building a dome on an existing Capitol had not been done in the United States since the Nation's Capitol in 1865, this project was every architect's dream. The challenge was to complete it with today's materials, within budget, on a tight schedule, under intense scrutiny, match it as close as possible to the original building and incorporate state history. The successful project has received 21 national and local awards. As Principal Jim Bruza notes, "People expect more out of architects than a pretty facade, they expect leadership, vision and integrity." Although FSB has won nearly a hundred local, state and national awards for their design excellence Jim Bruza and his partners are uncomfortable with labels. We know clients come to us, not because of awards, but because of what we will produce, in particular the quality of our work. We do not put personal interests first and that is reflected in the firm's 90% repeat client base. Many of the firm's clients started with FSB decades ago and continue today." Over the nearly 60 years in business FSB has always been a firm that believes good architecture results from good citizenship. The firm's projects are a reflection of that commitment to lasting architecture and giving something back; qualities Soloman Layton exemplified.

This is the third time FSB has received the AIA's Firm of the Year Award.