The building we are looking at for a test fit for the OCU School of Law is currently occupied by the American Farmers and Ranchers Mutual Insurance Company (AFR). They are the latest in of a string of occupants going back to the original use as a high school for Oklahoma City when it was first occupied in 1910. This wasn’t the first time this building was being given consideration for the School of Law. The AFR building was a runner-up to the Fred Jones Manufacturing Plant when it was being considered for a downtown home.
Category Archives: Background
While the OCU School of Law’s last endeavor to be a downtown law school came to an unsuccessful conclusion in 2009 it was not going to be the last. Three years later in 2012 a new downtown opportunity presented itself. This time it was an historic structure in midtown just a few blocks north of downtown.
The design gears were turning with a rapid elaboration of the building components. The basic organization and flow of the space program within the structure were reasonably established. More definition was needed for some of the more technical spaces that included moot courtrooms and teaching environments. Further confirmation and fine tuning of adjacencies was also in order. The design team was happily on their way and immersed in drilling down to new levels of detail within individual spaces.
Part of exploring the opportunities of the Fred Jones Manufacturing Plant for the transformation into a loft law school involved revisiting the space needs program for the OCU School of Law. While FSB had created an in depth evaluation of needs as a part of developing the Master Plan for the law school on the OCU campus, 5 years had passed since that effort and before this downtown opportunity presented itself. The academic program for the school had continued to evolve over those years, there were new needs based on being in a downtown location and the nature of library design was taking a new turn with the increasing advancement of technology and the expanded use of the internet.
Standing from afar or even just across the street, it was difficult to see and appreciate the level of detail that there was in the brick, stone and iron work that was a part of the elegant design and craftsmanship of the old Ford Motor Company plants. The closer you got, however, the articulation of the masonry and metal began to reveal itself and you could really begin to appreciate this industrial age architecture for what it was. Continue reading
Those of you of a certain vintage might remember that there was a #1 hit song by this name. It was sung by Petula Clark and she was the first UK female artist to have a US number 1 hit. It was so popular that it soared the charts worldwide after it was released in November of 1964. In the last lines of the song she sings “things will be great when you’re downtown; everything’s waiting for you.”
While the overall message of the song romanticizes about downtown life, the last of the lyrics seemed to be in line with suppressed desires of the Oklahoma City University School of Law. Continue reading
Under the tenure of Dean Lawrence Hellman, the Oklahoma City School of Law was beginning to feel the effects of growth within constraints. Life was good when the School of Law was all under one roof in 1979. But when it outgrew the space in the Goldstar building, the law school expanded into a new facility, the Sarkeys Law Center. The new classrooms, administrative space and moot and trial courtrooms were fresh, new and ready for the new classes of students that could no longer fit in the space left behind in Goldstar. Continue reading
Our client is the Oklahoma City University School of Law. Our working relationship goes back some 12 years and is intertwined with the history of the School of Law itself. The School of Law has been integral to the University from nearly its very beginning. To understand the history of the law school is to also reflect on the history of OCU. Continue reading
We are off to a new adventure in design. Unlike the Chickasaw Visitor Center, we don’t always have a new empty site to begin our project. Sometimes you start with something old. In this case, it was something build in 1909. Our project is linked to Oklahoma High School built in what is now midtown Oklahoma City. The building was designed by architects Layton, Hawk and Smith. The architecture was in the Collegian Gothic style and the exterior envelope was limestone clad with a tower facing Robinson Street. Continue reading
Corrine, Operations Manager of the ARTesian Gallery and Studios, and I walk across the intersection of Muskogee and First towards Bedré Cafe. As we walk she shares her visions of what could be; “On summer nights, I would love to see food trucks down here on a Thursday night and give the people a reason to come out. Just to step out of the ordinary, bring a bit of OKC here. Corrine then reflects back to the ARTesian, “we also have discussed a 2 and 3 day masters level art class that people have expressed an interest in; like Mike Larson, Margaret Wheeler. They have a great calling internationally; people know that. 3 or 4 people [could come for class] and stay at the [Artesian] hotel; do art 5-6 hours per day, go the park. There is a lot of potential.”