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Showing posts from September, 2010

Home of ORU Architect on the Auction Block

Frank Wallace is best known as the man behind the futuristic look of the Oral Roberts University campus. On October 14, 2010 his unique home overlooking ORU will be sold in a public auction conducted by Mister Ed's Auctions. Jackie and I recently had a chance to visit with Mr. Wallace and learn more about the house, his career and his thoughts on architecture.

When we visited we expected to snap a few photos of an empty house and speak with a rep- resentative from the auction company. To our surprise the door opened and we were greeted by Mr. Wallace himself. After assuring him we were not architects, he let us look around. Unfortunately we were not prepared to interview the man whose buildings incite such extremely diverse reactions- but that didn't stop me from asking him several questions anyway. 

The home, completed in 1980, was designed and built by Wallace who is now 87. The expansive home is so large that Wallace spends most of his time in a room that was his late …

Sandstone and Tears

Outside of Tahlequah, Oklahoma in a small community called Park Hill you'll find the Cherokee Heritage Center

The centerpiece of this complex is the Cherokee National Museum- a classic example of Seventies "State Lodge" style architecture. Designed by Cherokee architect, Charles Chief Boyd, the building was built in 1972 from native sandstone rock and modular poured-in-place cement panels. The sloped walls and large window areas echo the design of ancient Cherokee structures.

Outside the entrance is punctuated by three columns- all that survives of the Cherokee Female Seminary School that burned in 1852. A small pond surrounds the columns and extends into the building, a cool feature that unites the interior with the out of doors.

Inside the museum offers a dramatic exhibit detailing the forced removal of the Five Civilized Tribes- a plight known as the Trail of Tears. There is also a recreation of a pre-statehood village and an ancient Cherokee village featuring a liv…

Distinctive Tulsa Hilltop Home

This afternoon we dropped by an open house at one of Tulsa's most distinctive modern houses. Perched atop Reservoir Hill just north of downtown, this glass and steel abode is easily visible from the Tisdale Parkway. And the dramatic lighting of the roof makes the view at night nothing short of inspirational.

Designed by Tulsa architect Patrick Fox this home was built in 1987. A steel framework supports the two-story home and an aerial crossing that connects to the parking area. Redwood siding softens the hard edge for a ski resort feel that blends nicely with the steep topography. Large windows accentuate an open floorplan that spills out on to large wide decks along the back of the home. This is where you'll find that dramatic view of Tulsa's skyline.

Below the elevated walkway is a secluded courtyard. The main bedrooms open on to this private deck area. Follow the perimeter around and you'll be in the stepped backyard.

The house is just over 3200 square feet with 3 …

OK Mod in Oklahoma Magazine

The September issue of Oklahoma Magazine features a section on Mid-Century Modern. They asked me to comment on why Oklahoma seems to have more than its fair share of Midmod. The layout featured an excellent photo of a vintage Eames shell chair.


Mid-century Modern homes are easy to find in the
large, urban areas of Oklahoma, as well as smaller
cities and towns like Muskogee, Vinita and Enid.
“I think part of the reason (Oklahoma has)
more than our fair share of Mid-century Modern
(art and architecture) might be the same
reason we have an abundance of Art Deco,”
offers Rex Brown, author of Oklahoma
Modern blog.

“The oil business brought with it
wealth and a cosmopolitan attitude. The
oil barons of the 1920s built impressive
offi ce buildings and palatial
homes in the cutting-edge style of
the time – Art Deco. The ensuing
years of post-war prosperity
spurred another era of building –
only the style that was considered cutting
edge had evolved,” Brown continues.
“The increasing role of t…

Light Bugs: Fascination with Neon

Tulsa has some great neon signs. Unfortunately we had a whole heck of a lot more. That was before many of these metal, glass and argon works of art were scrapped, bulldozed or "updated" out of existence. But a new publication celebrates the survivors, and strikes a blow for preservation in this never-ending war against the supposedly outdated.

A soon-to-be-released booklet from the Tulsa Foundation on Architecture (TFA) is called Tulsa Vintage Neon. It features photography by Ralph Cole and is printed on durable, high gloss stock. The booklet is the result of a citywide inventory of Tulsa's glowing billboards. Copies are available for only $7.95 from TFA.

Efforts like this not only raise awareness within our community- they sometimes attract nationwide attention. Such was the case when the magazine Signs of the Times printed an article about Tulsa's inventory of classic neon, and TFA's efforts to preserve it. Tulsa neon was even featured on the cover!

One of Tuls…

Modern Choices