Ohr-O'Keefe Museum

Ohr-O'Keefe Museum

Located in Biloxi, Mississippi, The Ohr O'Keefe Museum is a non-profit art museum and arts center dedicated to the late ceramics artist George E. Ohr. The museum is named for both Ohr and Annette O'Keefe, the late wife of former Biloxi mayor Jeremiah O'Keefe. Her name was appended to the museum in recognition of the family's ongoing contributions, which exceed 1.8 million dollars.

The museum is designed by Frank Gehry Partners , whose work with Zahner in the past resulted in various high-profile architectural projects such as the Guggenheim in Bilbao, the Experience Music Project in Seattle, and the Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park, Chicago. Gehry met with Jerry O'Keefe in 1998, and agreed to design the new museum for Biloxi, Mississippi.

Photo of Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art at dusk, designed by Frank Gehry Partners

Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art at dusk, designed by Frank Gehry Partners.
Photo © A. Zahner Co.

Photo of Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art main building at dusk, Biloxi, Mississippi

Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art main building at dusk, Biloxi, Mississippi.
Photo © A. Zahner Co.

Photo of Ambient reflectivity of the Angel Hair® Stainless steel panels by Zahner for the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art

Ambient reflectivity of the Angel Hair® Stainless steel panels by Zahner for the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art.
Photo © A. Zahner Co.

Photo of Ohr O'Keefe Museum entrance at dusk, designed by Frank Gehry Partners

Ohr O'Keefe Museum entrance at dusk, designed by Frank Gehry Partners.
Photo © A. Zahner Co.

Photo of Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art, photographed across the water of the Atlantic Ocean Gulf in Mississippi

Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art, photographed across the water of the Atlantic Ocean Gulf in Mississippi.
Photo © A. Zahner Co.

Photo of Ohr O'Keefe Museum at dusk, featuring Angel Hair® Stainless Steel and ZEPPS® Technology

Ohr O'Keefe Museum at dusk, featuring Angel Hair® Stainless Steel and ZEPPS® Technology.
Photo © A. Zahner Co.

Photo of Ohr O'Keefe Museum Pods detail, designed by Frank Gehry Partners

Ohr O'Keefe Museum Pods detail, designed by Frank Gehry Partners.
Photo © A. Zahner Co.

Photo of Ohr-O'Keefe Museum Pods designed by Frank Gehry Partners

Ohr-O'Keefe Museum Pods designed by Frank Gehry Partners.
Photo © A. Zahner Co.

Photo of Ohr O'Keefe Museum viewed from the South entrance

Ohr O'Keefe Museum viewed from the South entrance.
Photo © A. Zahner Co.

Photo of Ohr O'Keefe Museum viewed from the South entrance

Ohr O'Keefe Museum viewed from the South entrance.
Photo © A. Zahner Co.

Photo of Ohr O'Keefe Museum Pods detail, designed by Frank Gehry PartnersPhoto of Ohr O'Keefe Museum gallery interior designed by Frank Gehry Partners with Eley Guild Hardy Architects

 

Ohr O'Keefe Museum gallery interior designed by Frank Gehry Partners with Eley Guild Hardy Architects.
Photo © A. Zahner Co.

Photo of Ohr O'Keefe Museum gallery interior designed by Frank Gehry Partners with Eley Guild Hardy Architects

Ohr O'Keefe Museum gallery interior designed by Frank Gehry Partners with Eley Guild Hardy Architects.
Photo © A. Zahner Co.

Photo of Ohr O'Keefe Museum gallery interior designed by Frank Gehry Partners with Eley Guild Hardy Architects.

Ohr O'Keefe Museum gallery interior designed by Frank Gehry Partners with Eley Guild Hardy Architects.
Photo © A. Zahner Co.

Photo of a map of the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art campusPhoto of the Ceramics Studio building at the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi, Mississippi

 

Map and view of the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum campus in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Photo © A. Zahner Co.

Photo of Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art campus in Biloxi, Mississippi

Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art campus in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Photo © A. Zahner Co.

Photo of East tower of the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art, showing the structural steel forms which support its roof

East tower of the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art, showing the structural steel forms which support its roof.
Photo © A. Zahner Co.

Photo of Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art

Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art .
Photo © A. Zahner Co.

Photo of Southeast view of Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi, Mississippi

Southeast view of Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Photo © A. Zahner Co.

Photo of Ohr-O'Keefe Museum Gallery of African-American Art designed by Frank Gehry Partners

Ohr-O'Keefe Museum Gallery of African-American Art designed by Frank Gehry Partners.
Photo © A. Zahner Co.

Photo of Ohr-O'Keefe Museum Ceramics Studio in Biloxi, MississippiPhoto of Ohr-O'Keefe Museum Ceramics Studio in Biloxi, Mississippi

 

Ohr-O'Keefe Museum Ceramics Studio in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Photo © A. Zahner Co.

Photo of Ohr-O'Keefe Museum Ceramics Studio in Biloxi, Mississippi

Ohr-O'Keefe Museum Ceramics Studio in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Photo © A. Zahner Co.

Photo of Ohr-O'Keefe Museum Roof system featuring Angel Hair® Stainless Steel

Ohr-O'Keefe Museum Roof system featuring Angel Hair® Stainless Steel.
Photo © A. Zahner Co.

Photo of Ohr-O'Keefe Museum main building and gift shop/coffee shop in Biloxi, Mississippi

Ohr-O'Keefe Museum main building and gift shop/coffee shop in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Photo © A. Zahner Co.

Photo of Ohr-O'Keefe Museum Ceramics Studio in Biloxi, Mississippi

Ohr-O'Keefe Museum Ceramics Studio in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Photo © A. Zahner Co.

In his initial designs, Gehry envisioned a single building, dancing with the graceful live oaks.  He later expanded the project into several buildings, scattered among the trees.  "The trees are architecture, they are as interesting as any building. It's like if you go to a dance and your dance partner is the tree. She's a pretty partner, so we'll try and waltz her around a bit."  --Frank Gehry

Constructing a complex building such as one of Frank Gehry's pods requires accurate engineering, which is why Gehry has partnered with Zahner on many of his most complex projects.  The pods are each engineered using the ZEPPS® process, which include several patented systems which enable precise engineering, smooth construction, and uniform surfaces in the final product.  


Panel Systems in CAD

Panel Systems in CAD

Panel Systems in CAD

Panel Systems in CAD
 

One of the ZEPPS® Panels for Frank Gehry's Pods at the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art

One of the ZEPPS® Panels for Frank Gehry's Pods at the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art.

Gehry's Pods at the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art during construction

Gehry's Pods at the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art, during construction.

Gehry's Pods at the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art during construction

Gehry's Pods at the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art, during construction.

Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art with skins featuring Angel Hair® Stainless Steel

Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art with skins featuring Angel Hair® Stainless Steel.

As the project neared completion in 2005, disaster stuck the southeast coastal areas of the Southeastern United States.  Hurricane Katrina tore through Biloxi, destroying 90% of the buildings along the coast and the gulf.  Many of the "floating" casino barges were torn from their footings, and cast along the shores causing futher damage.  One of these casinos, the Grand Casino Biloxi, found its way onto the Ohr-O'Keefe construction site, where it's path of destruction was halted by the live oaks surrounding Gehry's Pods.  The decision to nestle the buildings within the trees paid off, and damages were reduced.

Photograph of the Casino during Hurricane Katrina

Photograph of the Grand Casino Biloxi in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The pod-like structures were shipped back to the Zahner campus, where they remained in storage as the cleanup and re-construction process took place from 2005-2010. The pods were then shipped back to the site and the museum was substantially completed in 2014.

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