Showing posts with label news. Show all posts
Showing posts with label news. Show all posts

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.

From the September 2010 issue of Oklahoma Magazine.

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 the aviation industry in
Oklahoma during the 1950s is another important infl uence.
It was the Space Age, after all, so modern design
and architecture would only seem fi tting. Aviation
employed many Oklahomans.

“It’s also been suggested that (Oklahoma’s)
skylines benefi ted from an inferiority complex
– sort of a brick-and-mortar response to the
misperception of Oklahoma as a dustbowl
dotted with teepees,” he adds.
For purists, the infl uence of Mid-century
Modern design carries through the structure
of the home and into furniture and other
accessories.

Two of the most notable designers of
Mid-century Modern furniture were the
husband and wife team of Charles and
Ray Eames, whose chairs have become an
icon of the movement. – Jami Mattox

Prairie Church Matters

This Place Matters: Oklahoma church building featured on National Trust for Historic Preservation website.

The unusual Hopewell Church in Edmond, OK was designed by Bruce Goff in 1948. Often referred to as the "tepee church," it was completed in 1951, but has sat vacant since 1989.

But the National Trust hopes to preserve such iconic structures. You can learn more about the Hopewell Church, or help save it by spreading the word or making a financial contribution through the Trust's Community Challenge.


Photo courtesy of Preservation Oklahoma

Used Modern

Certified Good Stuff
Did you know you can sell your used designer or mid-century modern furniture on Lushpad?

It's true. Classifieds are reasonably priced and wanted ads are free! Sign up for a free account and start listing your surplus modernica today!

Shop Local
Here's a handy link to all ads on Lushpad located in Oklahoma. This includes all listings, even wanted ads. But you can tweak it to your satisfaction!

Oklahoma Listings on Lushpad

Enjoy.

Sell your used designer and mid-century modern furniture on Lushpad!

Tulsa Survey Finds Plenty of History

Last December the results of the "Downtown Tulsa Intensive-Level Historic Resources Survey" were published. In plain English that means an inventory of Tulsa's downtown architecture.

Amanda DeCort shares a map of Tulsa as Sarah Lobos look on.The last such evaluation dates back to 1978, but this recent survey is much more exhaustive. Every building within the Inner Dispersal Loop (IDL) was reviewed. Structures were evaluated for their architectural and historic value- as well as structural integrity. Why go to all this trouble? According to the Tulsa Preservation Commission...
The purpose of the survey project was to document all properties inside the IDL in order to identify which portions of downtown are eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, which would in turn make the properties eligible for Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit incentives.
The final document identifies 88 structures that merit acknowledgment for their historic status. It also lists fourteen districts that deserve recognition for their concentration of notable buildings. For us mid-mod fans who typically see our favorite buildings take a backseat to Tulsa's deco skyline, there is good news in this survey. After perusing the report I found several mentions of Tulsa's modern and recent-past architecture. Many of the buildings identified as Individually Eligible Resources (listed in Appendix A) were built in the Fifties and Sixties.

Historical Document
These documents are typically pretty dry reading, and this one is no exception. But it's also crammed with interesting tidbits of Tulsa history. In my opinion it's worth a look for anyone interested in Tulsa's origins or central business district. See for yourself- you can download the complete document here.

I'm going to review some of the structures on this list for future articles. For now I wanted to mention one of the highlights of the survey- an area identified as a historic district, that most people don't consider terribly historic.

Civic Center Historic District
Looking along the east facade of Tulsa's Assembly CenterOne of the most notable sections deals with the historic value of the oft-maligned central plaza of Tulsa's city and county government. The survey identifies this district as twelve square blocks between Denver and Houston Avenues. Recent attempts were made to entice development of the plaza as a "convention center hotel" complex. There were no takers. And even more disturbing was the assumption that any development would mean immediate destruction of the existing buildings.

The origins of this complex date back to a plan drafted in the Twenties. Again in 1943 a committee proposed a city-county-civic center and even suggested including a heliport! But it wasn't until the Fifties when things really got rolling. The first building completed was the courthouse in 1955.

The distinctive roof supports of the Civic Center building.But it would take several years and three public votes before the rest of the complex would be completed. The Assembly Center (now known as Convention Center), City Hall, City Council Chambers, Police Courts, Central Library buildings and the plaza itself were built over the next twenty years and designed by a group of local architects led by Robert Lawton Jones. This group approach explains the diversity of design one sees today- from the Assembly Center's Brutalism in raw concrete (above) to the flowing modernist lines of Central Library.

This type of development was common across America in the Sixties and Seventies. The large open plaza, along with "malling" Tulsa's Main Street, were products of Urban Renewal in action. Unfortunately, these attempts to create a relevant public space and retain the validity of downtown were in vain. Much larger forces were already working against any such effort. The draw of the suburban shopping mall had already captivated the American public, and no public building project was going to reverse it.

But historical relevance is not reserved for the successful. As Derek Lee, curator for the Tulsa Foundation for Architecture, put it, "Whether you like the building(s) or not, they are a part of Tulsa's architectural history and we would lose a significant piece of history if the(se) building were demolished." I happen to like several of these buildings. Even if the complex as a whole is considered by many as a concrete Spruce Goose.

Design Almost Within Reach

Modern Mess
The current issue of Fast Company magazine (December/January 2010) has an interesting article about one of the best known outlets for modern style: Design Within Reach.

A Modern Mess: the Rise and Fall of Design Within Reach by Jeff Chu is an enlightening read, and a little disappointing. Maybe I'm just naive, but it was news to me that DWR was knocking off some of their most popular products. Most of this has happened in recent years, but one example dates back almost the to company's founding. Up until 2005 the iconic Barcelona chair available from Design Within Reach was actually a clone called the Pavilion.
"I didn't feel that good about it... It bugged me ... "
- Rob Forbes, DWR founder
Barcelona chair by Ludwig Mies van der RoheApparently DWR finally got permission from Knoll to sell the genuine article- but the practice of touting design and then ripping off designers has tarnished their image for many longtime fans.

To his credit DWR founder, Rob Forbes, seems regretful of that early decision. He told Fast Company, "..it's legal to sell those things, but it's how you go about doing it. We all have our instincts about what you can live with. Some people are happy with breast implants and some aren't."

Hopefully the future for Design Within Reach will be less strained than that analogy.

I'm skeptical whether they can avoid becoming Pottery Barn Minimalist in today's economic climate. But I'm optimistic they will improve their business ethos, so for now, I'm still a fan.

Favorites: Thanks Dwell


Last week I noticed new visitors to Oklahoma Modern being sent from Dwell magazine's website.

Dwell is one of my fave magazines, so I was curious. I investigated and was delighted to find a new resource listing modern sites of regional interest- such as the one you're looking at now.

Dwell magazine now lists regional websites with a modern slant!Here's a link to the page which includes a map of the various sites sprinkled across our Great Land...

Dwell's Regional Modern Website Map

We don't really consider ourselves a "real estate" site, but that's okay (we're not based in OKC either). Shucks, when we started OK Modern we never thought we'd be in Dwell! We're flattered to be sharing pixels with cool sites like Houston Mod, the Eichler Network and Kansas City Modern.

Thanks Dwell!

TFA Virtual Tours Highlight Modernism

Architecture tours are a big deal at the Tulsa Foundation for Architecture. But the pandemic has put a damper on Second Saturdays, the popu...

Modern Choices