The 1984-1985 AIA Membership Directory: Oklahoma’s Ten Best Buildings

img401by Lynne Rostochil


The third Friday of February is, hands down, my favorite day of the year because it’s opening day of the annual Friends of the Library book sale.  Among the piles upon piles of art and architecture tomes, fiction and non-fiction bestsellers, mysteries, romance novels, and cookbooks, I usually find a few treasures about Oklahoma.  This year’s big find was a 1984-1985 Oklahoma AIA membership directory that packs a lot of great information in its 69 pages.  Along with all of the member architects in the state, the guide features information about award-winning buildings for the year and buildings the membership selected as the state’s 10 best.  Take a look at what members of both the Tulsa and OKC chapters considered our state’s best architecture 30 years ago (click on a photo to enlarge it to read the text):

1.  The Bavinger House — Norman

It still kills me that this drop dead, killer piece of architecture is in such a pathetic state.




2.  The Price Tower — Bartlesville

How lucky are we to have this gem of a building?





3.  St. Patrick’s Catholic Church — OKC

Definitely one of the best buildings in the state, or anywhere as far as I’m concerned.





4.  Boston Avenue Methodist Church — Tulsa

This one always gives me goosebumps.



5.  W. Angie Smith Chapel — OKC





6.  SandRidge Tower — OKC

The former Kerr-McGee tower is looking pretty good these days.




7.  Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building — OKC

It’s hard now to look at this building just for its architectural merits, it’s so shrouded in tragedy….




8.  Colcord Building — OKC

Here’s where I have to reveal that this great booklet is missing a few pages, notably the one that tells the story of the iconic Colcord building.  And how I wish those fantastic Myriad Garden fountains were still there….



9. Stage Center — OKC

I still can’t believe that this architectural masterpiece may soon be history.  If you’d like to help save this icon, show up at the Stage Center demolition appeal hearing before the Board of Adjustment is next Thursday, March 6 at 1:30 p.m. at City Hall, 200 N. Walker Ave.




10.  Remember when I said that this directory was missing a few pages?  Well, it’s missing the one that gives us the #10 best building in Oklahoma.  Because Tulsa is so under-represented, I imagine that the last building is from that part of the state.  I kind of like that the last building is missing, though, because that gives us a chance to fill in that spot with our own personal favorite.  Which of Oklahoma’s remaining buildings would you pick as #10?  Me?  Of course, I’d have to go with First Christian Church … duh!

Next week, we’ll look at more of the directory and the award-winning buildings of 1984.