The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

8 July 2006

Saturday spottings (structural proficiency)

I hadn't paid too much attention to the auto-parts store going in at 3217 North May; another concrete fortress would scarcely be noticed on this stretch of May, especially with that new Lowe's just south of 39th pretty much finished.

Until I got this letter from a reader:

When did this happen? Maybe while I was out of town, I would have noticed right away as that was built as a Kip's Big Boy restaurant — the first in Oklahoma City. I have many fond memories of picking up the Big Boy comic book and sitting in there eating a piece of pie or having one of their thick chocolate shakes. Another building with great memories is gone. Ugh. Change ... sometimes I just hate it.

Kip'sThe most recent occupant of this space, the Classic Rock Café/Bora Bora, has since relocated to Walker just north of 23rd. There are still Big Boy restaurants in ten states; Kip's, which had the Texas and Oklahoma franchise, seems to have vanished altogether. (I remember eating at a Big Boy restaurant within the last few years; it was probably in Danville, Illinois.) This photo, of the sign at a Dallas location that was torn down last year, was taken for this Web site, specializing in "the super-cool modern coffee shop architecture of the 1950s and 1960s"; the writer also devotes a page to savaging so-called "Dallas-style" homes, rather a lot of which are being built these days in central Oklahoma.

33 Northeast 7th StreetSpeaking of homes, in previous editions of Spottings, I waxed lyrical about a new house being built at NE 7th and Oklahoma; the last time out, I said something to the effect that "had I a whole lot more money than I do, I'd like to live in something that doesn't look like anything else." Well, clearly it looks like something, and it's not like it doesn't fit in with the rest of the neighborhood, because there's nothing else around: most of this area was cleared off for the construction of the Centennial Expressway. And after all, it was conceived as a residence with studio, so it's going to be at least somewhat utilitarian. I still think it's neat.

Posted at 5:38 PM to City Scene

I call them "Big Swollen Mutant Homes," and unfortunately the company I work for, which shall be nameless, is one of the ones covering the US with these monstrosities. (Though I believe my division will be going into townhomes, which at least have inherent design restrictions.) Anyway, I can't stand these "Dallas-Style" homes; they're all facade and huge, echoey rooms that are built to fit the ridiculously gigantic furniture (have you seen the styles in beds these days? They make the king of France's bed in Versailles look like camp cots) and, I guess, to accomodate the average American's increased fleshly bulk.

We have some lovely examples of midcentury modern houses in my area. Unfortunately the classic streamlined look is not in vogue -- apparently there's no place to put the Roman spa tub and the 40-inch tv -- so they are being torn down and replaced by these ridiculous monster homes that fill the entire lot. Across the street from me is an entire neighborhood of little fifties-era houses, 2 or 3 BR 1 BTH, that are being sold for huge dollar amounts to people who tear them down and put up a mutant house. It's sad.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at 7:46 PM on 8 July 2006

I am in the odd position of having the smallest house and the largest lot on the block, a quirk of the street curvature.

More typical on my street is the 1300-square-foot house on the 8500-square-foot lot, which seems fairly normal for post-WWII construction. We are in what the city calls an Urban Conservation District, which is somewhere below Historic in its strictness but which insists on maintaining the original front lines: you can rebuild, but you cannot extend beyond the front line of the original house, nor can you add an additional story. This makes McMansions rather difficult, at least for this neighborhood.

Posted by: CGHill at 11:29 PM on 8 July 2006

Bauhaus? In Oklahoma? As my 19 year old daughter would say, ewwwh.

Posted by: John Owen Butler at 9:12 PM on 9 July 2006

Looks more like a fire station to me.

Posted by: Titan Mk6B at 1:51 PM on 11 July 2006