Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

These Walls: Utica Plaza in Tulsa

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

These Walls: Utica Plaza in Tulsa

Article excerpt

After watching decades of suburban offices adopt ever-more- modern styles, John Bumgarner took a step back with a project embracing midtown Tulsa's history.

The result, after delays obtaining materials and working through bank branch lawsuits, was Utica Plaza, a group of three Mediterranean-styled structures that changed how Tulsa approached infill development.

"It took a great deal of courage to do something different from what was going on," said Miles and Associates Tulsa Studio Director Rachel Zabrowski. "They could have really built that with a big massive building that got more square footage, but I really appreciate it that they built something that bridges the surrounding neighborhood and Utica Square and the hospital. It's a respectful piece of urban planning that doesn't always happen."

Tulsa architect Patrick Fox, who designed the plaza with architect Jack Arnold, said Bumgarner appreciated the Old World feel Waite Phillips and others incorporated in their early midtown mansions.

So when he decided to create a Class A complex out of an existing '50s office building across the street from St. John Hospital, Bumgarner had the architects craft a mixed-use design incorporating Italian clay tile roofs, mosaics by local artist Linda Allen, Mediterranean gardens, two fountains and graceful storefront sidewalks.

"The fixtures were all imported from Italy, so it took them a while to arrive," said Fox, who oversaw Flintco's construction of the three-story structures in 1995. "The plaster is true concrete plaster. It's not that acrylic plaster that's out there. And then there's the limestone detailing from Indiana. It took awhile to assemble."

They hid the parking beneath and behind the structures so that sidewalks could run from the curb to the building face, decorated for a warm pedestrian environment.

"It's built very intensely, with a floor area ratio of 1, which means there's about 45,000 square feet of land and the new building is about 45,000 square feet," said Fox. …

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