The Oak Park addition to Oklahoma City, more or less 6th to 8th, Lincoln to Kelley, has been around for awhile; the older homes in the area date to the 1920s. In recent years, Oak Park was also the location of the infamous Bradford Commons apartments, which have since been scraped away. You can’t get to it from Lincoln both 5th and 6th dead-end before they ever reach Lincoln but if you’ve driven northbound on Lincoln in the past couple of years you’ve probably seen this:
This is 614 NE 6th Street, built in 2005 and, to me at least, somewhat reminiscent of Stage Center, which was being constructed (and hotly debated) when I was the new kid on an OKC city block. Think modular: each section has its own distinct purpose. It’s up for sale at this writing, and here’s some of the pitch:
The location allows the owner to enjoy the expansive landscaping and urban feel of Presbyterian and the OU Medical Corridor, while the surrounding commercial structures allow for the rhythmic architecture of the home. This great site location also allows the home owner amazing surreal views of the downtown OKC skyline.
If you’re down in the yard, as I was, you get some very real, if not so amazing, views of the Presbyterian Research Park. And to your east are some of those aforementioned older homes.
Still, I admit to being swept up in the sheer effrontery of the place: there’s a lot to be said for having the most distinctive house on the block. And there are genuine selling points:
Modern design aspects incorporated aesthetics that are pleasing to the eye with some real visual punch. Block glass in the garage arranged in a design gives I-235 North travelers an artistic show of lights from the freeway. The backlit wall glows at nighttime, but remains nice and cool during the day due to the use of concrete and stucco. Urban living with a double car garage and storage is almost unheard of. The simple symmetry of the home runs true throughout. A solid rectangular stucco wall slices across the entire expanse of the home. Rectangular shapes and thickness of materials are also uniform throughout the home. A “floating” l-shaped glossy black staircase and few walls keep the home open and airy. Rectangular bronzed steel windows placed higher up on many of the exterior walls allow billows of light to stream in at any hour of the day. The dramatic elevation very carefully frames the sky with the windows which is most apparent in the upstairs master bedroom where one really does get the feeling they’re sleeping in a tree house. All the windows are casement allowing you to open up and enjoy cool north/south breezes.
I think what I like about this general sort of design is that it’s unabashedly utilitarian without even the slightest nod to the Socialist Realism sort of stuff that got passed off as urban architecture a generation or two ago, the interchangeable proletarian barracks that were functional only because they wouldn’t dare be anything else. It’s probably not “beautiful” in the traditional sense, but it certainly draws the eye. (For comparison, you might want to see what I said about 715 North Francis and 33 NE 7th.)
I was squiring an author around town a couple of years ago, and part of the trip went up Classen, past the missile gantry of The Classen (at 22nd), the Golden Dome (at 23rd), and the Ginormous Milk Bottle (at 24th). She gave me a look which translated into “What sort of creatures are you, anyway?” Obviously, we’re the sort that like cool stuff, which makes sense considering that we started out in 1889 huddled together in a bunch of tents; and after a couple of decades of blanded-out suburban châteaux, I’m positively delighted with the idea that we’re building cool stuff again.