Category Archives: Background

Divergent View 3

FOR WEB - Hrdy_Self-Portrait 1_HR

Olinka Hrdy, an artist of mystery

The new home of the Oklahoma City University School of Law is the second renovation of what was once Central High School in Oklahoma City and was designed by FSB architects engineers planners. The historic building originally designed in 1909 is considered Collegiate Gothic style and is a work of art through the detailing created by skilled artisan laborers that carved the limestone, laid the mosaic tile and tooled the elaborate plaster. The building, however, contains artwork created by a little known Oklahoma artist that was born in Prague. Continue reading

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Demystifying Architectural Character – what style is this?


Test your skill at guessing the meaning of the architectural elements shown at the end of the post.

Our project, the OCU School of law, is being retrofitted into an historic structure built in 1909. It was originally designed as the first high school in Oklahoma City and was named Oklahoma High School. It was designed by Solomon Andrew Layton during a period of architecture that was infatuated with classical revivalism. Popular Classic styles for replication included Greek, roman, gothic and renaissance (mainly Italian). For some reason bringing back Romanesque never caught on. Continue reading


Filed under Background, Design

Design Is A Juggling Act

 Library Perspective

Keeping the project design on track is a challenge. Several special efforts come to mind. The challenge of meeting the owner’s expectations for the look and feel of the project is one that readily pops up after all this is the visible part of the project that everyone sees. Descriptions of look and feel are often hard to get your arms around: Continue reading

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Filed under Background, Design, Interior, Materials

Saving History – one piece at a time

 Main E Entry-1

As a part of the construction documents for the conversion of the American Farmers and Ranchers Insurance Company building (latest occupants with previous occupants being One Bell Central and Central High School) into the OCU School of Law, FSB laid out specific instructions for saving the history of Oklahoma High School through the preservation of the remaining pieces historic fabric inside the facility. At the time of the original construction in 1910 the workmen were true craftsmen and artisans at their respective trades. In particular, the pieces of history remaining in the building were primarily the work of tile setters and plasterers. The workmanship is incredible and approaches a level of quality of artwork. Continue reading

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Filed under Background, Construction, Design, Historic Preservation

History and the Threads of Its Fabric

The building which is the centerpiece of our project is on the National Register of Historic Places. Doing work on a historic building brings into play a protocol of respect for the structure. The National Park Service who oversees the preservation of these historic structures has a healthy set of guidelines for taking care of and preserving historic places. These guidelines set forth an approach to responsible care which is then up to the property owner to put into play although the guidelines are not actively enforced. Continue reading

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Filed under Background, Design, Historic Preservation, Uncategorized

Preservation – take 2


FSB’s recent presentation at the 26th Annual Statewide Preservation Conference by Fred Schmidt, FAIA was a part of a series of presentations that focused on projects in various stages of preservation. FSB’s presentation featured a current project for the Oklahoma City University School of Law which is the third use type of what was originally Oklahoma High School but later known as Central High School. The prior lives of the building were as a high school and then an office building. Continue reading

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Preservation, Rehabilitation, Restoration, Reconstruction

2014 Historic Preservation-FSB Presentation-Cover

FSB’s Oklahoma City University School of Law project was featured in the recent 26th Annual Statewide Preservation Conference. The conference was held at the University of Oklahoma in the College of Architecture and drew its largest attendance with over 300 participants. The law school presentation was a part of a Track titled Back to Basics where a variety of projects that have undergone or are undergoing some sort of rehabilitation were shared. The OCU School of Law project is going through a combination of preservation and rehabilitation. Continue reading

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Money, Money, Money


Tax credits are essentially free money. But you come to find out that while they may be free, if you qualify, they are a lot of work. Be prepared to spend money to get money. Reading the guidelines, doing your research and eventually filling out the forms takes a lot of time. And if you are not in the money or legal business, you will probably need to retain professionals with that expertise to get you through it all.

There is no doubt that when it comes to money a lot of advice can come be gained from the lyrics of music. Continue reading

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What Lies Ahead


There are several things on the table for the OCU School of Law project and several things brewing for the Blog. A number of things seem to want to command center stage for being the most important and at the top of the list, not surprisingly, is money. Things brewing are more in line with things like meeting new Blog guests, exploring local beta and uncovering more of the historic legacy of the building.

Money Talks

The financial viability of the project was a part of the big “go-no go” analysis of the existing building.

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Filed under Background, Guests, Historic Preservation

A New Outfit – trying it on for size

Central HIgh School

As we begin the due diligence effort for the OCU School of Law to investigate the feasibility of placing the law school within the old Bell building, now American Farmers and Ranchers Insurance Building (AFR), we engaged in the process of program validation to explore changes to the space needs that may have surfaced in the time span since the last quest to try a building on for size. Academic programs evolve and change over time and we needed to understand where things stood with the last version of the space needs.

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Filed under Background, Design, Interior