Thursday, August 8, 2013

A Proposal for Stage Center

We have been reading about Stage Center in Oklahoma City and how its days are numbered as the site is being looked at as a location for a new office tower.  We have always liked the building and appreciated the fact that it is a piece of sculpture as well as a building.  We attended plays there in years past--"Quilters" was one of our favorites, but recently, we just park, get out and walk around, marveling at the multicolored boxes, tubes and ramps all connected like a great big tinker-toy construction and it suddenly occurred to us that the perfect use for this building would be a museum for tinker-toys and other construction toys--Lincoln Logs, Erector sets and those Frank Lloyd Wright blocks among others.

Photo credit: Lynne Rostochil

There are people who are always building grandiose and imaginative constructions with these toys and then discover they have no room to store them and they can't bear to tear it down, or their Mom or wife insists that they get rid of the huge wobbly thing because they need the den for the garden club meeting or the back bedroom for the daughter moving back in after her divorce.  The Construction Toys Museum is a place they could call and donate the thing to them for display. Win-win for everyone! 

Seriously, classic toys are collectible and the construction toys are some of the most loved, most collected and cherished of all toys, and one of the most creative and versatile, too.  There are already museums featuring these classics, but none of them look like they were built out of a great big set of construction blocks.  Oklahoma City could have the premier construction toy museum in the whole wide world!

Besides the Lincoln Logs and Erector Sets, there are Legos, ABC blocks of all kinds, construction blocks with rectangles, arches and columns, castle blocks and the Construx sets.  Vintage sets are available as well as brand-new versions of the classic toys.  Displays could include some of the fantastic and outlandishly large constructions, there could be playrooms where kids could build stuff, contests could be sponsored to encourage creative competition. The history and stories of the creators and inventors could be featured in films or display backdrops.

How cool would it be to re-purpose this building for something that would enhance Oklahoma City's already growing reputation as a family-friendly, fun-loving destination?

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Glass Tree

Glass Tree is one of our favorite Big Houses.  It was built in the early 1980's and the picture here was taken during construction.  Looking at the photo, it is obvious why we called it "Glass Tree."  The mullion pattern in the big living room window reminds us of the trunk and branches of a tree, stylized to be sure, abstract, but a tree of glass with wood branches and trunk.  The wood is cedar and the glass is quarter-inch plate that is very heavy and strong.  The masonry is split-face block.  

The wooded landscape surrounding Glass Tree
 is reflected in the living room window.

The house is situated on a large lot in a country development and surrounded by mature trees.  It was designed for friends of ours, a very good engineer and his wife, a gifted pianist. One room, on the opposite side of the house from this window, was dedicated to house the grand piano.  We remember it as a grand room also, with a grand view as well.

The house has had several owners since it was built and we are pleased that the current owner has done the house justice with landscaping that takes advantage of the beautiful terrain.

Although we have designed many houses--large and small--since this one, we still find this particular window to be one to be one of the most evocative and romantic house elevations to have made the transition from our design on paper to actual glass, wood and masonry.