This past weekend my sister and I spent a few days with some of our best friends touring Tulsa, Oklahoma and enjoying time with them in their home. My sister and I had never been to Tulsa before so it was a new and exciting experience to walk down the 1/4 mile pedestrian bridge over the Arkansas river, see and learn about the Philbrook mansion, museum of art, and gardens, as well as the Linnaeus gardens, downtown and through some residential areas to see the beautiful old homes in the area. The days were hot (above 100 degrees,) but we had a cooler full of water bottles chilling in ice in the backseat and didn’t mind the heat anyway since we were spending time with such good friends.
Thanks to my mom I enjoy the uniqueness of many different architectural styles and learning about several (mostly from the 1880s-1940s). She used to want to be an architect, but chose not to become one. If she would have pursued this field as her career it’s evident from how much she still loves to learn about and practice her skills, she would have been a fine designer. I hope to design my own house someday, or renovate an older home and if I ever do, I told my mom she may help with designing the kitchen. She was quite excited.
Art Deco is certainly not my favorite architectural style, but it still interests me enough to learn about it so seeing several such buildings in downtown Tulsa was fascinating. Tulsa has many in this style from their oil boom days in the 1920s and 1930s.
The 72-room, Italian Renaissance styled Villa Philbrook in Tulsa is a beautiful home designed and built in 1927 by Edward Beuhler Delk for philanthropist Waite Phillips (younger brother to the founders of Phillips Petroleum). In 1938 he and his wife donated their home residence to become the Philbrook Museum of Art.
I hope to return to Tulsa someday and see the Prairie School home, Westhope, which Frank Lloyd Wright designed and built in 1929. I’ve never seen a Wright designed building firsthand, but I’ve loved reading about them and seeing pictures.
It would be such fun to go to Bartlesville, Oklahoma as well (about an hour north of Tulsa) to see the the 221 foot tall Price Tower Arts Center–the only Wright designed skyscraper. The building was first opened to the public in 1956 to be used in several ways including offices, shops and restaurants. The owner, Mr. Price, then sold the building to Phillips Petroleum company in 1981 and the building was used only for storage until it was donated to the Price Tower Arts Center in 2000. Since 2000 the building has been brought back to it’s roots by being used for many purposes. In addition to the art center, there’s also a museum for art, architecture, and design, as well as an inn and restaurant within its tall walls. I’ve read the building is supposed to resemble a tree–yeah, a 221 foot tall tree. I guess that makes sense knowing it was designed by Wright since he strove for his designs to be as harmonious with nature as possible.
This style Wright used to emulate nature he called Organic Architecture and I finally decided upon it as my favorite after reading and seeing many styles the past several years. If you’re interested you could read about the style here and view photos of well known Organic buildings here. My all-time favorite Organic homes are these low impact woodland homes in Wales.
“Using Nature as our basis for design, a building or design must grow, as Nature grows, from the inside out. Most architects design their buildings as a shell and force their way inside. Nature grows from the idea of a seed and reaches out to its surroundings. A building thus, is akin to an organism and mirrors the beauty and complexity of Nature.” –Architect Eric Corey Freed
Next to Frank Lloyd Wright and other Organic Architectural designs I like what the brothers Charles Sumner Greene (1868–1957) and Henry Mather Greene (1870–1954), designed in and around California in the Arts and Crafts style. I also love old English stone cottages!
On the drive back to Nebraska I was considering what the best buildings in my hometown are and thought of one I like which I took pictures of during a bright and crisp autumn morning a couple years ago. It’s a dilapidated Farmer’s Union Creamery next to the railroad tracks. Here are pictures of one of this farming-community’s best buildings: