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.
Category Archives: Design
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.
Studying how a vertical circulation spine and the interaction that it can introduce to the building organization was an enlivening and creatively infusive exercise. Each scheme that was developed seemed as strong and powerful as the previous one and yet each one very distinctive with its own strong character statement.
Pathways thru Buildings
Part of the story at the law school at the Fred Jones Manufacturing plant is that FSB had to compete or perhaps the term would re-compete for the project. This was a new field of teams that were each paired with firms with a greater national presence. FSB was partnered with TKA of Cambridge who had previous law school design experience as well as having repurposed a Ford Assembly Plant not as a law school but as an academic scientific research facility.
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.
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
Every now and then there is an experience so singular that it demands interrupting the flow of the current story to share. A recent experience presented one of those moments. It was a trip to Grand Rapids and a surprise visit to a project designed by one who is considered to be the greatest American architect of all time. The project is the Meyer May House. 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
Corrine and I walk from the Bedré Cafe to the Chickasaw Visitor Center. We talk about how the intersection could be textured with pavers to create an awareness for vehicular traffic of the pedestrian traffic and that this is a special zone of circulation. We talk about the old church up the street and how it could become a community playhouse or an ole opry mini-Branson venue.
As we approach the north entrance of the Chickasaw Visitor Center, we meet up with Cynthia Hines, the Supervisor of the Visitor Center on the sidewalk. Continue reading