Saturday spottings (knees up)

At various times through the week, the probability of precipitation on this spring Saturday has been quoted at anywhere from 20 to 60 percent, motivating Trini, once again accompanying me on the Architecture Tour, to bring along an umbrella and an extra jacket. This worked really well to keep the rain away for the entire five-hour duration, during which we hit nine locations of interest and used less (but not much less) than a quarter-tank of gas.

1) 3209 Robin Ridge Road

Krogstad House in Quail Creek

Behind Krogstad House in Quail Creek

Bud Krogstad, one of the original developers of Quail Creek, ordered up the 1.0 version of this house in 1964 from architect Robert Reed; it’s been enlarged twice since, most recently this past year. It’s one of the niftier variations on the Mid-Century Modern theme, and it sits right on the edge of the golf course.

2) 1171 Northwest 56th Street

1169 and 1171 NW 56th St

Billed as “SideXSide,” this is actually two residences on a single lot, 1171 being the one on the west side and the one we saw. (1169 is on the east.) Its relentlessly modern footprint doesn’t seem to fit all that well with the rest of Meadowbrook Acres, a traditional prewar suburb, but this is the going thing: dragging a sleepy subdivision into the 21st century. And it’s really quite appealing on the inside, with all mod cons and not so much as a square inch of clutter in its 1544 square feet.

3) 1161 Northwest 57th Street

1161 NW 57th St

Forget what I just said about Meadowbrook Acres. This is what you find one block north, and if anything, it’s twice as much: four homes — two mirror images — on a double lot. Same architect (Geoff Parker, 405 Architecture), same lack of clutter. (And actually, this shot is of one of the homes on the back of the lot.)

4) 911 Northwest 67th Street

American Energy Partners Fitness Center

When Aubrey McClendon bade goodbye to Chesapeake Energy in 2013, he set up shop as American Energy Partners almost literally just down the street; AELP’s fitness center, an ultra-modern facility about four blocks from the Chesapeake campus, looks as little like a Chesapeake facility as possible, with no nods to 19th-century small-college design whatsoever. The place is utterly bathed in natural light; the racquetball courts look so shiny I’d be afraid to sweat on them. “You should see it at night,” we were told. I believe it.

5) 616 Northwest 21st Street


Conference room at The ARC

Once upon a time, this was Sunbeam Family Services, which dates to 1964; fifty years later they moved to bigger quarters north of downtown, and new owner Marva Ellard repurposed it as a group of office suites for lease. The conference room shown is downstairs, as viewed from an upstairs corridor.

6) 322 Northeast 15th Street

322 NE 15th St

Billed as “Positively Paseo,” this baffled me for a moment, since this house, in the 1920s neighborhood Classen’s North Highland Parked, south of the Capitol, is nowhere near the Paseo. Positively Paseo, it turns out, is a nonprofit organization that buys up decrepit homes — or, in this case, a actual vacant lot — and replaces those spaces with new homes that look like they belong there. Sales are then made to folks of low-to-moderate income. This is the first PP completion in this neighborhood, with three more planned. And yes, they’ve done several homes in the Paseo area.

7) 126 Harrison Avenue

PLICO Building

Harrison Avenue is a diagonal through the east side of downtown, leaving some triangular blocks filled with flatiron-shaped buildings. This one, originally built as a hotel in 1924, was boarded up in 1988, reopened last year after Rand Elliott breathed upon it and gave it new life. It’s full of Twenties atmosphere and modern amenities that somehow manage not to clash. Owner PLICO, a healthcare-liability insurer, was recently acquired by Berkshire Hathaway’s MedPro Group, though BH says the operation will remain in the flatiron.

8) 1101 North Broadway Avenue

Buick Building

Interior of Buick Building

Original staircase from Buick Building

Only one actual dealership (Mercedes-Benz/Jaguar/Volvo) remains on Oklahoma City’s Automobile Alley, but some of the old dealer buildings have been lovingly repurposed. This Buick store, built in 1924, became a project for Brian Fitzsimmons and his crew in 2012; each of the four floors is a single office space, with a ground-floor frontage on Broadway that’s been given over to the tony Broadway 10 Bar and Chophouse. The weird curvy thing is an original spiral staircase, now hung outside near the entrance; upstairs, in the REHCO/Midtown Renaissance Group office, is a Buick straight-eight with, yes, valve in head. (The rest of the slogan: “Ahead in Value.”)

8) 36 Northeast 10th Street

Interior of Jesus Saves

There’s a sign out front that says “Jesus Saves,” hence the name. This Thirties building, once a leather bindery, was basically down to just four brick walls and tons of pigeon poop before being reclaimed and turned into a residence. Or, more precisely, two residences, a larger one upstairs, a small one on the ground floor. You’re looking at the upstairs kitchen.

Photo credits: 2) 405 Architecture; 6) Positively Paseo; 8) (rooftop shot) Brian Fitzsimmons; others by me (embiggened on Flickr should you so desire).

We’re already planning next year.


  1. Roger Green »

    17 April 2016 · 6:12 am

    #8 talk about a stairway to heaven

  2. Joe »

    17 April 2016 · 6:50 am

    I love that “flatiron” building

  3. ETat »

    17 April 2016 · 9:18 am

    Didn’t get what’s so “Jesus” about the name “36 Northeast 10th Street”, but I’ll chalk it to “mid-America sensibilities I’ll never understand” file.

    Would like to hear more about the roof bulkheads on the sector-shaped building @ #7 (there is only one Flatiron, and it’ s here). And to see the interiors.The rest is pretty uninteresting.

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