Monday, February 12, 2007
This past weekend Joe and I took a short trip down to Tulsa and Bartlesville, Oklahoma. On Saturday we drove the four hours to Tulsa to visit the Philbrook Museum of Art. Built in the 1920s for the Phillips family, of oil wealth, the mansion now houses what was their art collection, with additional works. The Japanese paintings were particularly nice (Jakuchu! Kiitsu! Okyo!), as were the grounds surrounding the museum. They are also currently showing a very powerful show on contemporary Native American art.
In addition to oil money, Tulsa is also known for Art Deco architecture. We saw a few buildings in our short time there, including the Boston Street Church, which was quite stunning, and really looked more like a government building to me.
The true goal of our weekend was to visit the Price Tower in Bartlesville. Also built with oil money, the tower is Frank Lloyd Wright's only realized skyscraper. Built in the 1950s, the tower is now home to an arts center, restaurant, and hotel, where we spent the night in one of the recently rennovated rooms. The interior design was beautifully matched to the tower, which Wright visualized as "the tree that escaped the forest," our room was complete with heated bathroom floors, copper finishings (to match the exterior designs), and a viewing copy of the Ken Burns PBS documentary on the architect. We stayed on the tenth floor, and had a delicious dinner and breakfast at the pleasant 16th floor restaurant, Copper. The first and second floors house the arts center, which was showing the design of Raymond Loewy. The following photos show the building's exterior, our room, the wall mosaic in the lobby, the furnishings that Wright designed for the building's original function as an office, and the evening view of Bartlesville.