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Showing posts from October, 2007

Lustron: The Power of Steel

Another early memory of mine is the "green and yellow house on Harvard." I remember my Dad mentioning they had looked at this model home when shopping for their first house. At the time I didn't realize it, but that model home was a Lustron. It's still there if you drive up Harvard Avenue north of Pine Street. Lustrons were pre-fabricated homes made of porcelainized steel– very similar to gas stations in the Sixties. The kit was delivered by truck and the house was assembled on-site. The rugged metal panels never needed painting, which was a popular feature in more rugged climates up north. They never really caught on, especially in this part of the country. The idea was so emblematic of the period following World War Two. In an era when people seriously believed there would soon be a helicopter in every driveway, it wasn't so far fetched to consider buying these metal houses. But like so many ideas of the postwar era, it was too far ahead of its time. Only now ar

International Airport: international design

What better place to start? The origin point of so many adventures was burned into my memory at an early age. Tulsa International Airport. Since my father worked for American Airlines we enjoyed the luxury of air travel back in the pre-deregulation days when it was out of reach of most Americans. This plus the fact we had relatives living in California (as do most Oklahomans, ala Grapes of Wrath ) meant we flew west almost every Summer. Each of those trips began with a cab ride to Tulsa International Airport . As the sun rose we would pull up to the glass and steel terminal with the smell of jet fuel wafting through the morning air. Those early memories from the Sixties still inspire me to this day. The glass walls of the terminal. The airport's control tower (right). Even the original Boeing 707 tail fin. I didn't know it at the time, but the clean lines and no-frills look are known as International Style . The architects, Murray Jones Murray, received numerous awards for the

Oklahoma Modern

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The Recent Past

The Bruce Goff House in Vinita

We were recently surprised to learn about a Goff-designed home just an hour away from Tulsa in Vinita, Oklahoma. Vinita is probably best known to OK Mod readers as the home of the Glass House on I-44, also known as (shudder) the World's Largest Largest McDonalds . Anywho, turned out the Goff house was on the market, and the owner was more than happy to let us have a look around. We took a short drive up the turnpike one Sunday afternoon to meet the realtor, snap some pictures, ask some questions and enjoy another one of Bruce Goff's unique creations. The home is known as the Adams House and was built in 1961. The 3,700 square foot home is arranged in a circular floor plan with a large sunken "conversation pit" at the center. Rising up from this pit is a large metal fireplace, its chimney surrounded by skylights, which dominates the entire house. Rooms surround the perimeter with folding accordion doors acting as walls. To maintain some semblance of privacy an inner

The World Museum

The widening of I-44 through Tulsa will soon claim another mid-century building (see Modern Homes Make Way for I-44 ). This unusual landmark near Peoria, once known as the World Museum, is being emptied in preparation for demolition. The concrete complex was built in 1963 by the Osborn Ministries as a museum and "Interstate Temple." Self-proclaimed minister, T. L. Osborn, and his wife, Daisy, traveled the world as Christian missionaries and collected art and artifacts on their journeys. The unusual La Concha-esque building housed their partial collection and distracted motorists touring along the new Skelly Bypass (aka I-44). The exterior of the building is adorned with maps of the world's continents. In its heyday there was a good deal more- a giant outline of Jesus was on one wall. The inscription below it, "REX," provided one of my earliest Latin lessons when I asked Dad why that building had my name on it. There was also a large globe that once stood out fr

Visit to the Prairie Chicken House

This unique house on the edge of Norman, Oklahoma is known to most as the prairie chicken house. Designed by Herb Greene in 1960, he preferred to call it simply the Prairie House .  Thanks to the  Prairie House Preservation Society  (PHPS) it is now possible for the public to experience one of Oklahoma's most unusual architectural treasures.