Go Lee Anne! Director of the TFA, Lee Anne Zeigler votes for several “modern” buildings as architectural treasures in this recent Tulsa World article. I think it is great she chose to include these before some of the more publicized Art Deco buildings around town.
by: JAMES D. WATTS JR. World Scene Writer – Tulsa World
Thursday, October 08, 2009
Tulsa is a city known for its architecture — from nationally known landmarks such as the Boston Avenue United Methodist Church to the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home known as “Westhope,” from the gleam of Oral Roberts University’s various facilities to the Art Deco stateliness of the Mid-Continent Building.
These are works of brick-and-mortar splendor that even the residents of Tulsa recognize as important. But what about those architectural treasures that are hidden in plain sight — buildings whose historic or aesthetic properties are just as impressive as the more famous edifices around town?
For the answers, we turned to the executive director of the Tulsa Foundation for Architecture, Lee Anne Zeigler, and asked her to name five of Tulsa’s under-appreciated architectural gems.
Warren Petroleum Corp. Headquarters
1350 S. Boulder Ave.
“This is maybe my all-time favorite.” It was designed for the Warren Petroleum Corp. in 1957 by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, one of the leading U.S. firms. It now goes by the name International Plaza.
“This is a shining example of the ‘modernist/international’ style of architecture, and the building itself has just reached that 50-year benchmark, which is when we start to consider something historic.”
The Sophian Plaza
1500 S. Frisco Ave.
This 1926 apartment building was built by Harry J. Sophian, who built a similar building in Kansas City. “The Tulsa Sophian is a little smaller — it has one less floor than its sister building, and the facade of the Tulsa one is a little less elaborate. But it is one of Tulsa’s most distinctive addresses, because it’s so wonderfully nestled in a lovely neighborhood and offers outstanding views of the Arkansas River and downtown.”
Bank of Oklahoma Tower / One Williams Center
“Tulsa, like a lot of cities, has a pretty sad history when it comes to urban renewal. And while it was terrible to lose so many buildings to make way for what was originally called the Williams Center, Tulsa did end up with a very nice example of a built work that is likely to stand the test of time.”
The BOk Tower — like the Tulsa Performing Arts Center next to it — was designed by world-class architect Minoru Yamasaki, who created the tower in a style similar to his most famous buildings, the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City.
Christ the King Church
1520 S. Rockford Ave.
“It’s something that can easily be overlooked in the pantheon of Tulsa’s churches due to its location in a sedate, historic neighborhood and its more modest size relative to the larger downtown churches. But the architect, Francis Barry Byrne of the Chicago architectural firm Byrne and Ryan, was engaged by Tulsa’s Bishop Kelley to ‘make Christ the King something both modern and authentic to Catholic worship.’ ”
Tulsa Community College’s Center for Creativity
10th Street and Boston Avenue
“This building is significant because it’s one of the sure signs that our downtown is making a comeback. It’s really an inviting and exciting addition to the city.”
The just-opened building was designed by Selser Schaefer Architects and features shaded pedestrian areas, large exterior display panels and landscaped areas that connect the existing and future campus developments.
See more pics of the TCC Creative Center.