Video by Christopher Hunt. Produced by Dick Pryor. Edited by Ilea Shutler
“Conversations” is a series of video interviews with Oklahomans about subjects that relate to some of the state’s important issues. The 2016-2017 series is sponsored by the Chickasaw Nation and is made possible by a grant from the Institute for Nonprofit News.
The playful, yet practical mind of Rand Elliott can be found in places scattered across Oklahoma, seeking to uplift people’s spirits through form, light and ambience.
A native Oklahoman, Elliott just celebrated his 40th year in the architectural business. The buildings, homes and park-scapes of Elliott + Associates Architects help define an era when Oklahoma City rose out of the 1980s oil bust and began showcasing new, striking works of architecture.
Elliott and his staff’s designs and renovations run the gamut: the Boathouse District along the Oklahoma River; the Beacon of Hope in Stiles Park; the Chesapeake Energy campus; the Classen Curve center; a Will Rogers World Airport snow barn; the Marfa Contemporary Gallery; the Route 66 Museum; and The Underground tunnels in downtown Oklahoma City. The firm’s work extends outside of Oklahoma as well, including ImageNet projects in suburban Dallas.
Elliott’s paternal grandmother came to Indian Territory in the land run of 1889. His father lived in a sod house; his parents were wheat farmers in Putnam, north of Clinton.
The family moved to Oklahoma City when Elliott was 5, and his father joined his uncle in a dry cleaning business in northeast Oklahoma City, where Elliott worked.
Elliott became interested in architecture at the age of 8, when, inspired by his older brother, he started putting together model cars. He graduated from Oklahoma State University and remained in the state, at one point rejecting an offer to join a prestigious firm in New York City.