Tag Archives: travel

Price Tower/Frank Llyod Wright Skyscraper

Bartlesville, Oklahoma was not on my bucket list.

My daughter lives in Tulsa and suggested we visit Bartlesville and stay in the Price Tower, a forty-five-minute drive from her home.

Price Tower, located in Bartlesville, is one of the only two “skyscrapers” designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

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The Price Tower caught my eye and I wanted to visit and find out more about it.

Lisa, my daughter, is not a Frank Lloyd Wright follower, but I am a volunteer tour guide at Taliesen West in Scottsdale, Arizona and she wanted to give me a birthday present. She made a reservation at the Price Tower for one night. She knows what makes her mom happy.

The tower is nineteen stories tall. It opened in 1956. FLW originally designed Price Tower as a skyscraper in Manhatten, New York in the 1930s. The project never went forward because of the Depression.

The Price Tower was called “the tree that escaped the crowded forest”. The crowded forest was Manhatten. The rooms within the building branch out like those of a tree. The trunk of the tree makes its way through the center of the building. There are three elevators and each floor. They are big enough for two people and one suitcase. Ascending the floors on the elevator feels like traveling through the trunk of a tree.

FWL installed levers on the sides of the building that moved back and forth to block the wind. They no longer work.

Harold Price owned oil pipelines and became the largest welding contractor in Mid-America by 1926. Bartlesville was a booming oil town at the time.

Mr. Price wanted a building three stories high and planned on putting a hair salon, a dress shop, and a gift shop. He proposed the price of $75,000. The ending price was much more. Frank Lloyd Wright added on features that were not requested by Mr. Price.

Frank Lloyd Wright had other ideas. He convinced Mr. Price to build the tower to nineteen floors. He told Price that he would recoup the money by renting the rooms out as living quarters, apartments. Mr. Price was not convinced, but he went along with the idea.

Bartlesville now has a nineteen-floor “hotel” in the middle of a town with a population of 36,389 as of 2017. The building is built of cement blocks, mahogany doors, turquoise carpet, and various types of chairs. The windows are tinted in a copper color. Copper represents the “leaves” of the trees. The drapes in some of the rooms are made from woven copper.

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Frank Lloyd Wright used triangles in his design of the building. Price Tower mostly features 30- and 60-degree angles, with triangles everywhere.

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The roof is made of the tectum for fireproof.  Price Tower represents the usual designs of FLW. Common materials, open planning, furniture design by him, and industrial type kitchens crammed in the corner of the apartments.

 

There were eight apartments in the building. Some of the apartments didn’t have draperies or artwork. He didn’t want anyone to be distracted by the beauty he had created. His furniture was built in, he didn’t want anyone to be moving it around. He used cast aluminum chairs. The sofas and chairs were red and diagonal in shape. Not the kind of chairs that make you feel comfortable.

FLW designed the dishes that the renters in the apartments ate from. He designed coffee cups with a red design so that women’s lipstick did not show up on the cups. He didn’t like women’s lipstick on cups.

The rents were expensive and it was hard to find tenants. The rooms were odd shapes and were not designed for entertaining your friends. Many of the tenants moved out. They couldn’t live their lives within triangles.

The Price Tower was redesigned to be a hotel. There are twenty- one hotel rooms. The room we stayed in was a suite. It was surrounded by windows.

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We spent more time in the room in the evening because it was raining. The toilet paper roll, towel rack, and lighting fixtures were copper. We had a full view of the town and of the prairie. I didn’t find the view extraordinary. There were no mountains, lakes or trees to see.

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The Price Tower belongs to the Price Tower Arts Center. Oil prices collapsed in the 1980s at Bartlesville was left with a lesser population and many of the businesses ceased to exist.

Note: Check for tour times before you visit. They are not open every day. You are not allowed to take photos of the rooms that served as apartments. You are not allowed to sit on the furniture. https://www.pricetower.org/

Outpost is the best place for coffee.

There are a few places to have dinner and breakfast.

 

 

 

The Gathering Place, Tulsa, Oklahoma

“The opposite of love is not to hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”
Elie Wiesel

Close your eyes and imagine a place where children can climb trees, slide, rollerblade, swing, and run around without their parents fearing for their safety. A place where children under four are securely gated in space for running around. Parents sit on benches and chat with each other while their children are safe. No hard surfaces to fall on. The ground is made of spongy colorful material. None of the children are playing with iPhones, iPads, or other electronic devices. Children cry not because they fall down, but because they have to go home. Now, open your eyes. You have entered The Gathering Place.

Children climbing on pods

The Gathering Place in Tulsa, Oklahoma is open 365 days a year. It has 80 plus tree species. It is a place for both adults, teenagers, and small children. It engages, excites, and educates. Children use their muscles, improve their physical growth, laugh, run, and learn about getting along with others by interacting peacefully with each other face to face.

Tulsa has its problems as do other towns and cities in the USA. People tend to stay close to home. Children don’t play with neighborhood children. There are cultural tensions. People who don’t meet with others who are not like them are more apt to hate or have bad feelings for those who are different. The Gathering place was an idea by George Kaiser to serve as an anchor for the community of Tulsa.  A ship that won’t sink. The Gathering Place will help to improve the social, economic, and environmental sustainability in Tulsa.

It is Thanksgiving Day, and my adult daughter has brought me to the park. It is 2:30 and an unusually warm day in Tulsa. The turkey is in the oven, and the cranberry sauce is made. We have two hours to explore the park.

The park brings together all people, black, brown, Muslim, Indian, Native Americans, and white. Grandparents and parents holding tightly on to the hands of children walk the pathways.

It is a place that inspires imagination. A place to play, learn, interact, relax, and “gather together.” There are 120 ft. of a suspension bridge. There is a pirate ship, a small village, canoes, kayaks, restaurants, and bathrooms.

A small children’s village

It is funded by the George Kaiser family foundation and given as a gift to Tulsa. There were no tax funds used. A combination of 80 corporate and philanthropic organizations was involved. The project began in September 2014 and opened to the public in September 2018. It is built on 100 acres of Tulsa waterfront along the Arkansas River at the cost of 465 million dollars. It is the largest public park gifted in US history.

If you live or visit Tulsa, don’t forget to include the Gathering Place in your itinerary.

Rocking chairs facing the water

 

 

The Price House

The Price House is not open to the public. I am lucky enough to visit because I am a volunteer at TalieseinWest in Scottsdale.

The Price House was built in 1955 and is located in Paradise Valley, Arizona. It was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for his friend Harold Price, Sr. Frank Lloyd Wright designed the HC Price Tower in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. The company owned by Harold Price.  This house was built as a winter home for him and his family. It is referred to as the “grandma house” and designed for the convenience of the grandchildren. A swimming pool, fountains, and a big yard offer a space for the children to play.

The materials are cement block, Philipino mahogany, copper, and brass. The roofing is made of tectum, a fireproof material. All materials are natural and chosen to blend in with the design. The house includes an industrial style kitchen which is very common in Frank Lloyd Wright homes. The kitchen was referred to as a “workspace”.

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Front view of the house

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Entryway into the home

Frank Llyod Wright designed with the idea of “compress, release”. The hallways are narrow and open up into bigger spaces.

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Mahagony window shutters

The mahogany window shutters blend into the natural environment. They are closed and opened to allow the sun to come in or to shut it out. They also help to keep the space cool.

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The outdoor fireplace

The outdoor fireplace keeps the space warm in the winter. Red is Frank Lloyd Wright’s favorite color. He said that red symbolized integrity.

 

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The living room

The living room has turquoise carpet and upholstery. He got this idea from a turquoise ring owned by his wife Olgavana. The cement block is not painted. FLW designed the built-in furniture. The pillows represent the colors of various plants in Arizona.

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Copper lighting over the dining room table

FLW used copper and brass for light fixtures.

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Windows in the house

Windows are designed to let in as much natural light as possible during the day time and to expose the outside scenery.

He used piano hinges for closets. He used wide open planning allowing for bigger spaces in areas for socializing. Not many women were happy with the smallness of the bedrooms and closets. He later designed a master bedroom because Mrs. Price was not too happy with her very small bedroom.

Mr. Price sold the house to the Shoen family, the founders of U-Haul. They raised their eleven children in the home. The house is taken care of the Shoen family and their foundation.

This is one of the last homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. He was 86 years old.