Saturday spottings (ahead of the storm)

The local chapter of the American Institute of Architects schedules several events during its spring Architecture Week, the last of which is the Tour, in which several members get to show off some of what they’ve been up to. This is my sixth time on the Tour, and I was delighted to see that they were allowing an extra hour — noon to 6 pm — since there were nine exhibits this year instead of the usual eight, and they were all over the map, from east Edmond to downtown Norman. They decided to cancel that last hour due to Impending Dreadful Weather, but no matter: we were done before five. Some of what we saw:

1) 104 East Main Street, Norman

Nichols Law Firm

It wasn’t easy to get to downtown Norman today: tornadoes ripped through the town last night and several roads were closed due to downed power lines. Attorney Drew Nichols owns this former storefront, redesigned for maximum modern efficiency without sacrificing that turn-of-the-century (and that’s the last century, not this one) look: that aisle to the left is red brick on the outside, lovely wooden storage walls on the inside. A very nice place to conduct business. (Photo by Butzer Gardner Architects.)

2) 2116 Covell Lane, Edmond

Creek House

This sixty-foot-long bridge starts at the deck of this rural residence, and finishes somewhere out in the woods: the ten-acre site features a fair-sized pond and more trees than you can possibly count. Still under construction — the SIPS exterior is done, the interior just begun — this is the sort of place that Trini aspires to: not far from anything, but far enough from everyone. I can appreciate her thinking. (Photo by me.)

3) 2801 Northeast 120th Street

Kliewer House

George Seminoff (see the 2007 Tour) built this place for himself in the late 1960s; over the years, it had deteriorated to the point that extensive reconstruction was deemed necessary. This is what it’s supposed to look like:

Original Kliewer House

(First photo by me; second courtesy of the Getty Foundation.)

4) 6614 North Pennsylvania Avenue, Nichols Hills

Weiland House

Nichols Hills is an enclave of old money and mostly old houses, and this one, on the town’s main drag (and at 25 mph all the way through, a drag it is), is getting a refresh from Brian Fitzsimmons (see the 2007 Tour). The old Colonial was lovely but outdated and seemingly light-resistant; the Fitzsimmons plan was to open up the place with more glass and to break up the perceived monotony with an off-center front porch. (The house used to look like this.) Lots of work still to do, but the result should be delightful. (Rendering by Fitzsimmons Architects; I took several shots, but none of them proved satisfactory.)

5) 1000 Northwest 37th Street

1000 NW 37th

Marked for demolition by the city, this fourplex on the edge of Crown Heights was taken over by Brent Swift, the same Norman developer who worked with Drew Nichols on his law office (see #1 above), and Butzer Gardner were brought in for the design work. The late-1930s apartments will be updated with as much of the original floor plans intact as is feasible, and a similar structure with three units is going up on a side lot. (Rendering by Butzer Gardner Architects.)

6) 1228 Northwest 36th Street

1226 NW 36th

This house, a 1916 Craftsman-turned-duplex owned by architect Kenneth Fitzsimmons (not connected to architect Brian Fitzsimmons), was on the 2010 tour; in the two years since, they’ve further spruced up the interior and turned a 1940s building on the back of a lot into a proper studio.

1226 NW 36th

(Exterior photo by me; interior shot courtesy of TASK Design, Inc.)

7) 1300 North Broadway Drive

Saxum HQ

John Kirkpatrick — residents of OKC will say “Oh, that John Kirkpatrick” — ran his oil company from this vintage-1950 building between Broadway and the Santa Fe tracks. (George Seminoff — see #3 — had an office in the building at one time.) When the company moved north, the building was donated to the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, which rapidly outgrew it; Saxum, a public-relations firm headed by Renzi Stone, acquired it in 2010, and engaged HSEarchitects to open up the inside while preserving the exterior look. (It did not occur to me that “Saxum” is in fact the Latin word for, um, “Stone.”) (Photo by Nick Archer.)

8) 21 North Lincoln Boulevard

Fire Station 6

The last time I mentioned Fire Station #6, it was at 620 Northeast 8th, and um, it was on fire. Which is not why there’s a new Station #6 on the eastern edge of Bricktown, which was in the planning stages already. However, nobody seemed to like the original design — for a Bricktown structure, it was deemed deficient in brick — and a new proposal was submitted by Norman-based LWPB. The new station has individual dorm-type rooms and the latest support gear, and was built to LEED standards. (Rendering courtesy of Steve Lackmeyer; the history of Station 6 is worth a read.)

9) 824 Northwest 7th Street

824 NW 7th St

If you’re paying attention, you might have noticed that this is the fourth house within one block of 7th and Francis in the last six years of the Tour. The availability of relatively cheap (for close to downtown) lots and the fabulousness of the views obtainable thereupon have made this section of the Cottage District relatively hot, architecture-wise. Randy Floyd, a major player in this district, came up with this nicely-stacked “urban cottage” that feels a lot larger than its stated 2230 square feet. (Photo courtesy of Leonard Sullivan.)


  1. Teresa »

    14 April 2012 · 11:34 pm

    What an excellent tour! I’m so glad the weather held off long enough for you to get it all in. I am a fan of Craftsman style but would love to see the apartments in the 1930’s era building. Very very nice.

  2. CGHill »

    14 April 2012 · 11:48 pm

    It went well; we got sprinkled on once or twice, but the big storms have yet to develop. (They’re now saying about 3-4 am.) The units in the fourplex run about 1100 square feet each; they’re not saying anything about pricing just yet, but proximity to Western Avenue, which has a decent row of restaurants and trendy shops just to the north, will probably push it up a few bucks.

    Given the history of this town — thrown together in 24 hours in the spring of 1889 — there’s no predominant style, though the boom after WWI produced rather a lot of Tudor Revival structures.

  3. Tatyana »

    15 April 2012 · 2:08 pm

    The Bridge to Wilderness looks intriguing.

    Stay safe, Chaz, don’t tease the Thor

RSS feed for comments on this post