Tulsa Rich With Art Deco Architecture

Thursday, January 31st 2008, 12:26 pm
By: News On 6

At the Tulsa Foundation for Architecture's recent white-glove open house, lovers of Tulsa's architecture were able to look at rare photographs and drawings of the city's beautiful buildings and interest was very high.

Lee Anne Zeigler of the TFA says, "Right now it is absolutely at the highest that I can remember, everybody's very interested in Tulsa's architecture right now. We're in the top handful for having buildings in the art deco style."

"I'm only a lawyer, I'm not an architect." Larry Yabon readily admits, "I really like the art deco buildings that we still have downtown. Short of places like Chicago, you won't find this type of architecture around the United States. The Philbrook and the buildings that surround that are still something that I'm very enthusiastic about, that we should be very proud of and preserve."

But why is Tulsa so rich with art deco buildings? Architect Matt King believes the answer lies in Tulsa's oil-boom early last century.

"A lot of money, and that just happens to coincide with the art deco era." The Archive Director notes, "consequently we have a great collection of art deco here. The quality that we had in the 1920's was exceptional."

These landmark buildings stand out in a skyline shared with more modern styles.

"The buildings that we had in the 10's and 20's and 30's and 40's were a byproduct of what was available in terms of construction methods back then. Today we have much simpler and more economical means to build buildings, consequently we have less expensive buildings." King says.

So is there hope for more modern buildings with great style?

Lee Anne Ziegler thinks so, "Oh, sure, there are always new and innovative ideas and new things are happening all the time. But I think looking back at that which is time honored and revered is very special and most of the architects that I know do have a real reverence for the architecture and the architects who have gone before them."

By Chris Howell, Newson6.com Video Journalist