Tag Archives: bruce goff

Inside the Tulsa Club

9 Jun

Walking past the Tulsa Club on my way to and from work every day definitely got me wondering what was inside. At one time this was the most prestigious social and athletic club in Tulsa so it had to be nice, right. I’ve heard lore of the wealthiest Tulsans including Waite Phillips indulging in the finer aspects of life at this facility.

So, let’s just say someone invited me inside to take a tour. Two of my colleagues and I entered the building and had a look around. We thoroughly explored the facility from street level to the roof, from racquetball courts to ballrooms from bookkeeping to bathrooms… They really did have had a ton of bathrooms in this place and plenty of graffiti as well. See for yourself at the full photo gallery.

Tulsa Club Building For Sale

25 Feb

From Tulsa World – By P.J. LASSEK World Staff Writer

The owner of the vacant Tulsa Club building is looking for a buyer who will rehabilitate the downtown nuisance into a historically significant piece of property, a local broker said Tuesday.

Cecilia and Will Wilkins of W3 Real Estate were hired to market the building for Carl Morony of California.

Morony also owns the Sinclair Building at the southeast corner of Fifth and Main streets.

The Wilkinses also are marketing that building.

The Tulsa Club, 115 E. Fifth St., is a Bruce Goff-designed building that is structurally sound but needs a lot of work, Will Wilkins told the Tulsa World.

The building is tied up in litigation that includes city code violations, a city lien for unpaid downtown assessment fees and unrelated judgments to other parties.

Morony tried to redevelop the building into lofts by vying for Vision 2025 funds, but he lost out to another developer, Wilkins said.

“Now that the downtown is going through a revitalization, this is an opportune time to find a developer that can find a unique use for the building, work with the Historical Preservation Commission and rehabilitate it,” he said.

When Morony bought the building at a tax sale, it had been gutted and was in poor condition, Wilkins said. No work has been done on it since.

“Carl made an investment so that sometime down the line when downtown Tulsa revitalized, he would be able to capitalize on that investment,” Wilkins said.

The Tulsa Club was one of 60 vacant buildings with code violations that the city targeted in 2007.

Vacant for more than a decade, the building has fire, electrical and plumbing code violations as well as safety and health issues.

Wilkins said Morony’s attempt to get Vision 2025 funds for renovations “speaks volumes to what he wants to see the building become.”

“It certainly hasn’t worked out that way, and we hate that it has gotten to the point that it has,” he said. “But now Cecilia and I want to facilitate action that makes something good happen for the building and the downtown area.”

Morony’s lawyer, Jasen Corns, said the city knows that the property is for sale.

“If the city genuinely wanted the building improved and rehabilitated, it would stay out of the owner’s business in his efforts to sell it,” he said.

“We believe certain city officials already have an end game in mind for this property and they are basically just manipulating the process to get the result they want.”

The city declared the property a public nuisance in November 2007 and ordered that its problems be corrected, with civil penalties of $1,000 a day for noncompliance.

The city has filed for a foreclosure on the property for an unpaid $331,815 default judgment for failure to remediate the building-code issues.

Morony has asked a judge to vacate that judgment. If the judge rules in favor of Morony or if he pays the judgment, the foreclosure action will dissolve.

The city also placed a lien on the property for 10 years of unpaid assessment fees linked to the Business Improvement District. The total owed is about $22,000.

Two other judgments against the property by separate parties total about $50,000.

Wilkins said he is actively showing the property to several prospective buyers, both locally and out of state, and some have expressed serious interest.

All are aware of the legal status of the property, he said.

Goff’s Tulsa Club to Auction

7 Jan

It appears the Tulsa Club Building Downtown may be up for grabs. It just blows my mind to think any building of this stature could be valued less than many peoples’ homes. Interesting article below.

From Urban Tulsa

Downtown Tulsa Club

Downtown Tulsa Club

A classic downtown example of Tulsan art deco architecture could soon become available to the highest bidder at a sheriff’s auction, though the new owner would need to undertake plenty of repairs before opening it for any type of public use.

The City of Tulsa filed a foreclosure action in late December against Carl J. Morony of California, owner of the Tulsa Club building at 115 E. Fifth St., near the intersection with S. Boston Avenue. The building has been cited for violation of fire, electrical and plumbing codes as well as collapsed ceilings and evidence of trespassing and other possible criminal activity. The city had assessed a $1,000 fine each day since August 2007 until a Tulsa County judge awarded the city a $331,815 civil judgment in October for the unpaid charges.

“The present owner got it for $125k at a sheriff’s sale, which unfortunately makes the vacant land worth as much as the building itself, so he has allowed the building to demolish itself through a lack of maintenance,” said Rex Ball, president of the Tulsa Art Deco Society.

The roof, in particular, is a significant problem, Ball said; but allowing the building to disappear would be a shame for many reasons. He pointed out that the Tulsa Club building is the only surviving multi-story building designed by renowned architect Bruce Goff, and it contains many “striking” art deco features, including ornamentation on the interior and exterior walls, elevator shaft and doors, columns, light fixtures, mouldings and fireplace tiles.

The building was completed in 1927 as a joint project of the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce and the Tulsa Club, an exclusive organization started by Tulsa oilmen. The first five floors of the structure, which was then known simply as the Tulsa Building, were occupied by the chamber, while the Tulsa Club filled the top six floors and the roof garden.

“A surprising feature a lot of people don’t know about is the roof garden, which was sensational, and the parties up there were always great,” Ball said. “It looked out over the Philcade [Towers] and the skyline to the east of downtown. It was really pretty glamorous, actually.”

The club also had a slumber room, gymnasium, squash courts, steam room, barber shop, lounge and two-story ballroom with art deco detailing, though many of the art deco features were lost during an earlier renovation. Ball also said the “skirt” of glass block and stone on the exterior of the ground floor was added during a renovation.

What to Do?

Extensive renovations would be required to bring the building up to code today, but Tulsa’s chief economic development officer, G.M. “Mike” Bunney, said the new owner would not need to worry about being fined by the city for code violations.

“We would work with the new owner however necessary to help them get some time and work on the building. They’re not going to get it into code overnight,” he said. “Any kind of reasonable extensions are granted as a matter of course.”

In 2005, a group called the Tulsa Club Development Company applied to the City of Tulsa for a $2.5 million no-interest loan to aid development of the structure as a mixed-use building. The city was distributing $10 million to promote downtown living through its Vision 2025 initiative, but the Tulsa Club Development Company was turned down in favor of the TransOK Loft Apartments, The Mayo Lofts, The Mayo Building and The First Street Lofts. Kanbar Properties, owner of the TransOK building, ultimately turned down the $1.5 million it was offered because the firm was not ready to move forward with the development.

The proposal from the Tulsa Club Development Company called for placing retail shops and office space on the first two floors, with the remaining floors residential. It would have contained 47 condominiums ranging from 746 square feet to 1,000 square feet, which were projected to sell for between $111,000 and $150,000 each. In addition, 13 penthouses of 1,300 square feet were projected to sell for $260,000. Completing the project was estimated to cost $6 million.

Separately, the Tulsa Foundation for Architecture has held regular meetings to discuss other options regarding the future of the Tulsa Club building.

The Tulsa Club Building was one of 60 vacant downtown structures that the city identified in 2007 to be targeted for revitalization. An inspection executed with a court-ordered search warrant turned up the violations.

It is unclear how long the court process regarding the foreclosure action will take or how soon the property could go to auction. If the property sells for more than $331,815, the excess money would be used to pay any other creditors, with the remainder sent to Morony. The building has been vacant since the Tulsa Club closed in 1994.

Though there are myriad problems with the interior of the structure, Ball stressed that it is a “stout” building that can be saved.

“It would be a challenge [to renovate the building], but the exterior of the building is limestone, and the structure is exceedingly sound,” Ball said. “It might be difficult to get it back into operation, but I can assure you it would be a challenge to get it down.”
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Revisiting Bruce Goff’s Architecture

2 May

bruce goff houseLike any other art, architecture must be experienced before one can write adequately about it. Bruce Goff designed many remarkable buildings but I will comment on one of two I have visited and why I think, his work needs to be revisited.

Bruce Goff – a child prodigy who started working in an architectural firm at the age of twelve was the Dean of the College of Architecture at the University of Oklahoma in the 1950s. His creative spirit looms large in that school where his remarkable architectural renderings and those of his students hang on the walls around the College. Like Frank Lloyd Wright, he took pride in drawing and saw the art of drawing as part of the architecture that would take shape. Nowadays, I fear drawing is seen as a means to an end. Like the ancients who created myth, Goff saw drawing as a vehicle to articulate our humanity. The purpose of myth was not to give an historical account of heroes but rather to try to articulate the inexhaustible dealings and feelings of people. It is to Bruce Goff’s credit that he had the skill to translate his ‘dealings and feelings’ from drawings into architecture.

The Pollock House in Oklahoma City, reveals a mastery of color, light, space, illusion and materials. Like Gaudi and Wright, Bruce Goff had a profound respect for nature and local materials. Like Frank Gehry, he was a sponge that soaked Classical music and was inpired by Balinese artistic traditions and the Pollock Hosue reflects this. Spaces flow into other spaces. Mirrors deceptively create greater depth in the rooms. Like repetition in music which sustains a moment and creates a sort of infinity of that moment, the enlargement of the rooms by the mirrors challenge the certitude that three dimensional space is all exists.

The pool and the sound of water flowing recalls Feng Shui and an Eastern reverence for nature and stillness. His daring cantilevered roofs show a disdain for conventions and throw down a gauntlet at gravity.

He had a fascination with a blue-green color, of which some of his other buildings have bluish-green stones.

Neither he or his work should be forgotten and we must try to preserve his surviving structures.

Written by my friend, Architect Doyin Terriba – who studied at the University of Oklahoma. Photo provided by http://www.narrowlarry.com

Bruce Goff – Child Prodigy

17 Oct

Born in Alton, Kansas, Goff was a child prodigy who apprenticed at the age of twelve to Rush, Endacott and Rush of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Goff became a partner with the firm in 1930. He is credited, along with his high-school art teacher Adah Robinson, with the design of Boston Avenue Methodist Church in Tulsa, one of the finest examples of Art Deco architecture in the United States.

brucegoffheadstone.JPGAfter stints in Chicago and Berkeley, Goff accepted a teaching position with the School of Architecture at the University of Oklahoma in 1942. By 1943, despite a lack of credentials, he was chairman of the school. This was his most productive period. In his private practice, Goff built an impressive number of residences in the American Midwest, developing his singular style of organic architecture that was client- and site-specific.