OU School of Architecture: Style is the Ultimate Morality of the Mind, part 1

by Lynne Rostochil

It seems that there’s no limit to the great mid-century, Oklahoma-centric goodies to be found at local estate and garage sales.  Here’s another of my favorite finds that I uncovered in a jam-packed garage a few years ago in a box filled with old kids’ drawings, craft magazines, and other ephemera.  And what a find it is … a ’60s-era brochure produced by the OU School of Architecture and geared toward prospective architecture students.  Don’t you know I squealed with delight when I uncovered this gem?!

The 14-page brochure may not look like much to the casual observer, but its slimness belies all of the great content within, including page after page of student drawings, graduation requirements, a list of the school’s faculty, etc.  In fact, this is such a treasure trove of goodies that I’m taking two weeks to cover it all.  Let’s begin with the introduction (all brochure contents are in italics, while my comments are in standard type):

Architecture is an art that uses the materials of building construction, with the labor of many skills and techniques, to create safe, comfortable and beautiful buildings for mankind.

The essential requirement of beauty in his designs is what differentiates the work of the architect from that of the engineer.  If it were not for that, there would be no need for architects.

The architect must possess a combination of artistic talent, creative imagination, and technical aptitude.  The student, therefore, should have talent in freehand drawing, an inquiring mind, also aptness in mathematics and in manual crafts.

The architect is responsible for the planning and execution of projects that often cost millions of dollars; he has to deal with business men (sp), engineers, educators, sociologists, craftsmen, and other diverse professions and callings.  He must convey his ideas clearly and convincingly, in writing, in speech, and in drawings.

His concern is not only with individual buildings, but also with man’s entire environment.  His training includes application of engineering principles; appreciation of aesthetic values in design; and study in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

The ultimate purpose of our curriculm (sp) is well expressed in the following quotation from “The Aims of Education” by Alfred North Whitehead.

“Finally, there should grow the most austere of all mental qualities; I mean the sense for style.  It is an aesthetic sense, based on admiration for the direct attainment of a foreseen end, simply and without waste, style in art, style in literature, style in science, style in logic, style in practical execution have fundamentally the same aesthetic qualities, namely, attainment and restraint.  Style, in its finest sense, is the last acquirement of the educated mind; it is also the most useful.  It persuades the whole being.  The administrator with a sense for style hates waste.  The engineer with a sense for style economizes his material.  The artisan with a sense for style prefers good work.  Style is the ultimate morality of the mind.”  Individuality as exemplified in style — not fashion — is the goal toward which our students are directed.

What can you say to that but wow?  And that’s just the beginning.  Page 2 shows some of the buildings designed by a few of the school’s chairmen:

School History

A chronology of chairmen of the School indicates some of the influences shaping its history:

Joseph Smay, 1929-1943

Henry Kamphoefner, 1944-1947

Bruce Goff, 1947-1955

J. Palmer Boggs, 1955-1959

Mendel Glickman, 1960-1961 (he was Frank Lloyd Wright’s chief engineer on his last several projects)

John G. York, 1962-present (he would serve until 1969)

Murlin Hodgell, 1969-1982 (also served as dean of the College of Environmental Design, which included the School of Engineering)

Raymond Yeh, 1983-1993 (dean of the College of Environmental Design, which was renamed the College of Architecture in 1984 and comprised the Schools of Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Interior Design, Construction Science and, later on, Regional and City Planning)

Deborah Dalton, 1994-1997

Bob G. Fillpot, 1998-2008

Dr. Charles W. Graham, 2008-present

(I think that’s right.  If not, please correct me.)

The current Director of Architecture at OU is a Mod Squad friend, Hans Butzer.

Student Expenses:

Approximate expenses of students:

The general tuition fee is approximately $112.00 to $126.00 or $7.00 per credit hour for residents of the State; for non-residents, $176.00 to $198.00, or $15.00 per credit hour.  Room and board for unmarried students in a University-operated house is $265.00 to $315.00; apartments for married students range from $47.50 to $65.00 per month.  Textbooks and supplies cost $50.00 to $60.00 (I think I spit out my water when I read that — oh for the days of $60.00 a year for ALL of your textbooks!).

Financial Assistance:

General scholarships for under-graduates from the State Regents’ Scholarship Plan and from the Alumni Development Fund are available on the basis of need and scholarship.  These amount to the equivalent of general fees and up to $200.00 for each grant.

Every year, as many as ten students in the School of Architecture win awards, scholarships and fellowships in amounts up to $2,500, that are made available by the American Institute of Architects, various graduate schools, industries and organizations.

Long-term student loans at low-interest rates also are available to qualified students.  Information about this form of aid and about State Regents’ Scholarships may be obtained from the Director of Financial Aids, Norman, Oklahoma, University of Oklahoma.  Part-time work can be obtained in campus laboratories and offices as well as in Oklahoma City industries.


How does this course load compare with what today’s architecture students take, I wonder?  Maybe some of you recent students out there can enlighten us.  There are a lot of classes on this list I’d love to take, that’s for sure — all of those history of architecture classes, for example.  Fun, fun!

… and this is just the beginning.  There’s so much more good stuff from this small-but-delightful brochure coming up next week, so stay tuned, as they say.

P.S. If this kind of thing is something you’re interested in, you might want to check one of the early Mod Blogs in which Robyn shared a great OU College of Fine Arts bulletin from 1954-1955 that she found at a garage sale.  See, there really is a never-ending supply of all things Oklahoma around here, which means that there’s material for the Mod Blog for a long time to come.  Here’s the link to see the bulletin: