History of OKC Architecture Program

The Oklahoma City Foundation for Architecture is excited to be part of the OLLI at Oklahoma State University and presenting this 6 week program.

History of Architecture in Oklahoma City Course

From its settlement in 1889 to the present day, Oklahoma City's visionary leaders and architects have constructed remarkable buildings in a variety of styles, leaving us with a truly distinctive and fascinating structural landscape. Our architectural evolution — from the city's first skyscraper, the Colcord Building, in 1910 to the landmark First National Center, completed in 1931, to the most recent addition to our impressive skyline, the Devon Tower — will be explored during this six week program. Each week we will focus on particular building types: historic architecture, midcentury modern architecture, endangered buildings, tax credit projects and more. The course will include a field trip to visit much of the architecture featured throughout the program. Join the Oklahoma City Foundation for Architecture and its guests as we showcase Oklahoma City’s built environment from 1910 to present.

The Oklahoma City Foundation for Architecture was formed by members of the local architectural community in 1999. The mission and focus of the organization is to promote design excellence and preservation of our built environment through education, projects and events. The Oklahoma City Foundation for Architecture works in concert with the American Institute of Architects.


Thursday, February 23: Oklahoma City's Early Architecture and the Efforts to Save It

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Oklahoma City's built environment began to take shape shortly after the claims were staked on April 22, 1889. Surveyors laid out the city's streets, planners created zoning ordinances, and buildings were erected. What began with tents evolved to skyscrapers in a matter of a few decades. This class will explore Oklahoma City's early architecture from its territorial beginnings to the building boom of the early 20th century. The class will also discuss current efforts to preserve the landmarks of this important era. Examples of successful preservation and revitalization efforts will also be presented.

The class will be led by David Pettyjohn, Executive Director of Preservation Oklahoma, Ron Frantz, AIA, Director of Great Plains Studio and Wick Cary Professor at OU's Institute for Quality Communities and Dr. Bob Blackburn, Executive Director of Oklahoma History Center.

Thursday, March 2: OKC 2nd Time Around presented by Steve Lackmeyer and Buddy Johnson

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In this class, learners will get a compelling behind-the-scenes account of Oklahoma City's transformation from a downtown declared dead in 1989 to an area hailed as one of the Southwest's urban hot spots by Southern Living Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times. The class covers the virtual rebuilding of downtown Oklahoma City, including the controversial destruction of hundreds of buildings during the urban renewal era of the 1960s and 1970s. Finally, MAPS, politics, struggles, failures and triumphs that led up to a $2 billion makeover to Oklahoma City during the past decade will be discussed.

The class will be led by Oklahoman reporter and local historian and author, Steve Lackmeyer, and Buddy Johnson, who heads the Oklahoma Room at the downtown library and is also an author and publisher on books about Oklahoma history.

Thursday, March 9: Oklahoma Modern Architecture

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In the last decade, mid-century modern architecture has seen a great resurgence in popularity and has become a focus of academic study and preservation efforts. While the most famous buildings are located on both coasts, the Sooner State boasts some of the country's most outstanding examples of the innovative style, many of which are located here in Oklahoma City. This class will explore the little-known but fascinating history of some of these architectural icons — including St. Patrick's Catholic Church, United Founders Tower, and State Capitol Bank — and the brilliant minds behind them. The class will also discuss successes and failures in preserving and, in some cases, the re-adaptation of these unique buildings.

The class will be led by Lynne Rostochil, Robyn Arn, and Terri Sadler, founders of the Okie Mod Squad, an organization devoted to celebrating and preserving Oklahoma's mid-century modern architectural heritage.

Thursday, March 16: Architecture Now

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Oklahoma City has experienced a transformation over the past decade and that has brought many award winning architecture projects, including the Boathouse District, Fassler Hall, The Frank, Catholic Charities and OKSea. This class will showcase these projects and their impact on Oklahoma City.

The class will be led by Rand Elliott, FAIA of Elliott + Associates, Jason Leach, AIA of Fitzsimmons Architects, Duane Mass, AIA of Mass Architects and Dan Govin, AIA of Allford Hall Monaghan Morris.

Thursday, March 23: Historic Tax Credit Projects

From small towns such as Anadarko and Bristow to Oklahoma’s largest cities, Oklahoma City and Tulsa, historic rehabilitation brings life back to long-vacant buildings. The State of Oklahoma encourages historic rehabilitation investment through a tax credit incentive program administered by the State Historic Preservation Office at the Oklahoma Historical Society. This incentive, teamed with great developers and architects, has brought some great buildings back to life. This program will focus on several of those projects.

The class will be led by Jeremy Gardner, AIA of Gardner Architects, Catherine Montgomery, AIA of Preservation and Design Studio, Stan Lingo of Lingo Construction, David Wanzer of Pivot Project Developments, and Chris Fleming of Midtown Renaissance.

Thursday, March 30: Tour of some of the buildings discussed throughout the program.





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