Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Notes from the National Preservation Conference

Hip patio in Ranch AcresI am grateful to the Oklahoma Main Street Center for the opportunity to attend the 2008 National Preservation Conference. This was the first time I had ever participated in such an event and it was an inspiring and educational experience. Jackie and I attended a number of sessions and events.

Here are some general observations we made:
  • Tulsans don't realize how much wonderful architecture we have (or how much we've squandered).
  • The National Trust for Historic Places has recognized the relevance of Recent Past structures and design.
  • In most of the country teardowns are a very real threat to postwar neighborhoods- though most of our "infill development" in Tulsa has targeted older areas, it's obvious the Ranch Home is the next target.
  • The Recent Past Preservation Network is working on a new website with interactive features and photo sharing.
  • "There's nothing wrong with a new building looking new." - NTHP Trustee and Conference Co-Chair, Marty Newman on developers.
  • We heard lots of new jargon- but our favorite: Garage Mahal.
    And finally-
  • We are not the only kooks who think buildings devoid of ruffles, turrets, and lightning rods are cool.
Shane Hood leads a bus tour of Tulsa's modern dwellings.One of the highlights was riding along on Shane Hood's bus tour called Mid-Century Tulsa: Back to the Future! Shane is an architect who has worked hard to promote the Lortondale neighborhood. The tour included homes in Lortondale, Ranch Acres, Wedgwood and a hidden enclave along East 71st Street. A brief stop at ORU had the attendees grasping to name the architectural style of the campus. "Space Age" seemed to be the consensus.

The Comma House near 71st and EvanstonAn unexpected treat on the tour was the unusual "comma house." It has recently changed hands and steps have been taken to preserve it. Look for more on it in the near future.
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Postscript.