REPRINTED FROM THE JOURNAL RECORD
By Molly M. Fleming
The Journal Record
Posted: 04:48 PM Monday, February 25, 2013 4:48 pm
OKLAHOMA CITY - It's not every day that the Central Oklahoma Chapter of the American Institute of Architects takes a stance on saving a building.
But for the Stage Center at 400 W. Sheridan Ave. in downtown Oklahoma City, the chapter has voiced its opinion that it would like to keep the building intact.
"There just seems like something could be used for the building," said Melissa Hunt, the chapter's executive director. "We came out and really worked with the (Oklahoma City) Community Foundation because we had so many members that said, 'We can't let this building go.' We feel like it's pretty important."
According to the building's Realtor, Mark Beffort, keeping the building intact may be a possibility.
"We've had one group look at it that wants to reuse the facility, while others are looking at developing the site," said Mark Beffort with Grubb and Ellis.
He said he has shown the property to more than a dozen interested parties, and that number has been narrowed to between three and five.
"We do have an interested party that has indicated interest in keeping the existing structure," he said. "But they don't know if they would. We want what's in the interest of the city, but we're making sure whoever buys the site is able to execute their plan."
The buyer of the property could be named by the middle of April, Beffort said.
"We are not under contract with anyone yet," he said.
The purchaser of the property will be named based on three criteria: the price offered, the buyers' capability to execute their plan, and the ultimate use of the structure.
Stage Center is owned by the Oklahoma City Community Foundation. There is no price on it.
Hunt said the purchaser will get a building that is in decent shape, considering the 2010 flood. However, the building does not have heat or air conditioning, which is an additional expense the new owner would have to resolve.
"The upper floors were not flooded," Hunt said. "It's been empty since 2010 and it's in remarkably good shape. Where it flooded in 2010 - all of that has been cleaned up."
At one time, the building was being considered for the National Register of Historic Places, but that proposal was put on hold when the Oklahoma City Community Foundation filed a formal objection to the listing.
Hunt said that despite the foundation's objection, the new owner could still put the building on the register if they desired.
The Stage Center, originally called Mummers Theater, is considered historic by architectural groups because it was designed by John M. Johansen in 1970. Johansen was a student of Walter Gropius and Frank Lloyd Wright. The building received the American Institute of Architects National Honor Award in 1972. That same year, it was placed in the permanent building model collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
Take Five: A Titan of Architectural Criticism has Died, but Architects are Best Prepared to Carry on the Conversation
|By Robert Ivy, FAIA
AIA EVP/Chief Executive Officer
|Until January, if you asked any architectural writer to name the greatest living critic, the answer would inevitably be Ada Louise Huxtable, Hon. AIA. While there have been other renowned minds thinking and commenting on architecture and the built environment in the 20th century (Lewis Mumford springs to mind), no one came close to Huxtable.Writing as the architecture critic for The New York Times, and later for The Wall Street Journal, she balanced careful reporting with strong opinions, providing readers with the social, economic, and political context, as well as the effect a given project exerted on a neighborhood, street, and city. Her columns addressed the art of architecture, but rarely as a stand-alone topic.
Who can forget her realistic appraisal of the future for New York’s Ground Zero, warning us to temper optimism for that supercharged urban nexus, since, in Gotham, developers ultimately had the final say: ”What Ground Zero tells us is that we have lost the faith and the nerve, the knowledge and the leadership, to make it happen now.” Many of us, filled with optimism for a fresh start, sometimes recoiled a notch at her pronouncements, or actively disagreed with her, but one fact was clear: Her opinion mattered.
We treasured her because she spoke the truth as she understood it, even when it hurt. And legions of citizens, eager for an educated perspective on buildings or neighborhoods or the city, shared in their appreciation of this refined voice. In a sense, she acted as a progenitor, arming subsequent generations of writers, such as Paul Goldberger, Hon. AIA, (who succeeded her at the Times). But even more importantly, her role helped to set a standard in which informed writers act as the moderator of public discourse, helping us to frame the debate, much as other gifted critics for major news outlets do on their own geographic turf–Blair Kamin in Chicago, Chris Hawthorne in Los Angeles, Robert Campbell, FAIA, in Boston, and now Michael Kimmelman at The Times. We are all in her debt.
While Huxtable honed and valued her professional craft, the Internet has unleashed the genie from the bottle. Today, we don't have to wait for the authoritative article to see a project and form initial decisions. In a sense, all of us can carry on the conversation, because the times demand it. And who better to evaluate architecture, and its effects on the world around us, than architects?
In a way, all architects become critics, for good or ill, practicing their faculties first in the design studio on their own projects, then on those of their classmates and colleagues. The looming need for informed discussion transcends the superficial aesthetic aspects of a given building or community project. Think of Huxtable. Ada Louise would enjoin us to collect our facts, set the context, and look at the larger picture before taking aim. Then, and only then, are we prepared to advocate effectively and forcefully for the built environment–taking a balanced, if powerful position that our clients, or fellow citizens, will listen to, recall, and act on.
Some of us have lamented that, “The public doesn’t understand the value of design.” But it doesn't require a singular generational talent like Ada Louise Huxtable to teach people how architects make the communities we live and work in better places. This is a job for architects as well. No one knows the total story better–neither the client nor the public. You know your project’s intentions. If the building is a school, you know how it might enrich a student's learning experience; if it's a hospital, how it might help a patient heal.
We should use op-eds, letters, blogs, and all manner of social media outlets, adding the architect’s voice without waiting for someone else to frame the debate. In one sense, speaking out and speaking up about architecture in your own community becomes a form of advocacy, a positive action you can take to help advance the understanding and appreciation of your own work and of the profession. Then, when our motives and achievements are recognized by third parties, including great critics like Ada Louise Huxtable, the message will resound clearly and powerfully.
Speak up, speak out about architecture. The AIA of the 21st century needs architects (and critics) like you.
February 6, 2013
The American Institute of Architects Central Oklahoma Chapter (AIACOC) is proud to again bring Architecture Week to the public. Architecture Week celebrates architecture and design in Central Oklahoma. This year the events will run April 8th thru the 14th.
The events include the OKLAHOMANMADE Architectural Photography Competition, the AIACOC Honor Awards, the 12th Annual AIA Architecture Tour, KIDesign and the Oklahoma City Foundation for Architecture's Poker Run.
On April 11, 2013 the OKLAHOMANMADE Architectural Photography Exhibit will be held. This is an event for future photographers, professional photographers, intern architects, architects, and the general public to show their images of Oklahoma built environment. The OKLAHOMANMADE Photographs will be on display and winners will be announced during this event. Come join us for OKLAHOMANMADE event on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at Butzer Gardner Architects on Film Row from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
The 2013 AIACOC Honor Awards Luncheon will be held on April 12th. AIA will honor individuals and firms both within the profession and outside the profession who merit recognition for their accomplishments on behalf of the architectural profession. This event will take place at Will Rogers Theater from 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
On Saturday April 13, 2013, AIACOC will host two events. One will be the Architecture Tour and the other will be KIDesign. The Architecture Tour is a tour of eight projects in the OKC metro that have been designed by architects. The 2012 Tour locations can be viewed at www.aiacoc.org/tour. Tickets for this year's tour will go on sale March 25th and will be $12 in advance or $15 the day of the tour.
AIACOC and the Oklahoma City Foundation for Architecture invite kids 1st through 6th grade to participate in KIDesign. KIDesign is an event that helps our youth discover architecture in a hands on classroom approach.
Architecture Week will conclude on Sunday with the Oklahoma City Foundation for Architecture's Poker Run. The poker run highlights significant structures around the Central Oklahoma area. This event will feature various architectural works that are historic and architecturally significant. There are five designated stops within a 150 mile radius. Attendees draw a poker card at each stop and the winning hand will be determined at the final stop. Motorcycles and cars are both welcome.
We appreciate all the support you have given Architecture Week in the past and we invite you to join us again this year to celebrate the importance of design in our community.
For more information on Architecture Week 2013, please visit www.aiacoc.org/architectureweek
Melissa Hunt, Executive Director
AIA Central Oklahoma
The Oklahoma City Foundation for Architecture awards two scholarships annually - one each worth $1,000 to a professional degree-track student at The University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University.
1. Students must be enrolled and working toward an NAAB accredited BArch or MArch degree at OU or OSU.
2. Students must be enrolled in at least the third year of a BArch program.