Innovative firm builds on tribal values
Tulsa architecture and design firm Blue Star Integrative Studio's projects and collaborations extend across the continent.
The team of Blue Star Integrative Studio: Travis Roubideaux, design intern; Scott Moore y Medina, director of design; Lillie Keener, president; and Ace Elsea, architect and project manager.
In September, the American Indian Chamber of Commerce in Oklahoma named Tulsa architecture and design firm Blue Star Integrative Studio its Small Business of the Year.
This “small business” employs four people in Tulsa, but the reach and impact of its projects and collaborations extend across the continent. Blue Star’s notable projects include the Mni Wiconi Sustained Community Master Plan for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe community near Cannon Ball, North Dakota. The plan sources local, natural building materials and offers options for renewable energy, while focusing on construction that would have minimal impact on the land, says company President and Tulsan Lillie Keener.
The firm also collaborated with the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma to design the Pawnee Nation Ceremonial Dance Arbor, set to be completed by summer 2019. The Ceremonial Dance Arbor utilizes Pawnee geometrical designs and colors in what “has resulted in a beautiful response in wood, steel and stone,” says Keener, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation.
The firm was founded by Principal Architect Scott Moore y Medina in 2012 and is currently based in the Kendall-Whittier District. Keener says their projects all incorporate “quality design, environmental excellence and smart community building.”
“We make time to understand the deeper context of social, environment, economic and cultural impacts on a project,” she says. “As a Native American- and Latino-owned business, we strive to run an ‘indigenous-minded’ practice that celebrates mutuality, community values, personal connection and social experiences and takes lessons learned from ancestors forward into the modern business world in order to lift up the communities and clients we serve.”