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Monday, October 1, 2012

WORLD ARCHITECTURE/Bartlesville, Oklahoma

WRIGHT PRICE--Frank Lloyd Wright designed the19-story (221-ft) Price Tower in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.  Nicknamed by Wright as the “tree that escaped the crowded forest,” it is his only built skyscraper and one of two vertically-oriented Wright structures still in existence (the other is the S.C. Johnson Wax Research Tower in Racine, Wisconsin).

The Price Tower was commissioned by Harold C. Price of the H. C. Price Company, a local oil pipeline and chemical firm. It opened to the public in February 1956.On March 29, 2007, Price Tower was designated a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior, one of only 20 such properties in Oklahoma.

Today, the building is part of the Price Tower Arts Center, an art complex founded in 1985 as a civic art museum, and reorganized in 1998 to focus on art, architecture and design. Features includes a museum, tours of the historic tower, a hotel and restaurant.

The museum galleries feature changing exhibits. Collections include modern art, works on paper, furniture, textiles and design. The center owns some significant pieces by Frank Lloyd Wright and renowned Oklahoma architect Bruce Goff.

Visitors can tour temporary exhibitions inside Frank Lloyd Wright's Price Tower, as well as the fully restored 1956 Price Company Executive Office and Corporate Apartment. (Reservations are required for groups over 10 and tours will usually be scheduled at times other than the regularly scheduled tours).

This blog recently toured the Price Tower and learned The Tower was originally planned as a mixed-use building, with offices below (except the Price Company executive suite on the top levels) and apartments.  Wright-sized (557 sq ft) apartments rented for $350 when the Tower opened in 1956.  Today, very cool Tower Hotel rooms can be had for much less... with bragging rights to sleeping in a FLW building.

When you visit Bartlesville, be sure to head South to Tulsa, a half hour away, where an impressive collection of beautiful Art Deco office buildings can be seen.

Images by Phyllis Adkisson Shess


Top: Tower, offices on the left, apartments on the right and hotel top floors.

Middle: The massive cloisonné mural in the lobby was designed by FLW associate John DeKoven Hill and fabricated by artist Pauli Lame.

Lower: Looking down from the upper level of the Copper Bar, which was originally the dining room for Price Company employees.

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