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Showing posts from June, 2010

International Style Open House

One of Oklahoma's Most Significant Modern Homes Open for Public Viewing Next Week

On June 24, 2010 an open house will be held at the recently-restored Robert Lawton Jones House in Tulsa. A Look magazine article called it the International House of Style. This 1959 beauty is a textbook example of the International Style, and the first Mid-Century Modern house in Oklahoma to be added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Robert Lawton Jones was a principal architect with Murray-Jones-Murray, a firm familiar to any Tulsan who appreciates the art of minimal design. These are the folks that gave us the Tulsa International Airport, First Place Tower, Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church and the Tulsa Assembly Center. Jones studied under Mies Van der Rohe, and it shows in much of his work. The simple lines and sparse ornamentation are hallmarks of his work.

Back in 2008 I snapped these photos after an Oklahoma storm had toppled trees near the house. Fortunately the falling foliage …

Trade Winds Survives I-44 Expansion

All the work along I-44 has us frantically searching for alternate routes in and out of the Patrick Henry neighborhood. Skelly Drive resembles the Baja 500 and the intersection of 51st and Harvard has been a war zone. But the work is necessary, and long overdue.

The Skelly Bypass, as this stretch of I-44 through Tulsa used to be known, was originally built in 1957. The stretch between Yale and the Arkansas River has been virtually unchanged since then. And it shows. Bridges and underpasses are crumbling, the lanes are narrow and entrance ramps have merge areas that are "Oklahoma City-short."

During this much-needed expansion of the Interstate we have seen many unique buildings razed or molested. Many of them were built when Skelly Drive was new and modern, so they typify that Mid-Century aesthetic. One business that has survived the highway construction is the Trade Winds East. It's hard to tell nowadays, but this Motor Hotel was quite a tiki showplace when it opened in 1…

Bruce Goff Towers in Roland

On a recent trip to Arkansas we detoured through Roland, Oklahoma to visit a little-known structure designed by Bruce Goff. It's a trio of steel towers that mark the entrance to the Woodland Hills neighborhood. The 99 foot-tall towers were built in 1963 and are located in Roland along US-64, aka 1200 block of Ray Fines Boulevard.

Each pole has rebar accents shaped like the reinforcements of a Rohn tower. At the base of the towers is a shallow reflection pool where a fountain and colored lights once accented the striking structure. Today the pool is dry and the lights are dark- but it's still a pretty impressive landmark in this Eastern Oklahoma town of only 3400 people. 

Modern Choices