Early next year the Oklahoma City Community Foundation will start construction on a new facility.
It took the foundation two tries at city meetings to get the building approved by the Downtown Design Review Committee, The Journal Record’s Molly Fleming reports:
During the first meeting in October, architect David Hornbeek presented a building design that featured a glass front, capstone promenade columns and metal awnings.
He said he purposely designed the building so it did not match the existing structure. The new building will sit directly south of the community foundation’s current headquarters at NW 10th Street and N. Broadway Avenue.
“We believe the change keeps the side of the street from being one entire long block building,” he said.
During the meeting, the DDRC heard from Automobile Alley building owner Steve Mason and architect Rand Elliott about the building’s design. Commissioners said the building did not meet the historic district’s guidelines.
Hornbeek said the criticism was subjective. He said the downtown framework says a building should not emulate the surrounding area.
“If you want (a building that mimics the area), you need to change your (downtown) guidelines,” he said.
This is the second time this year that the Automobile Alley historic district guidelines have been questioned in a meeting. The district’s guidelines were created more than 20 years ago, but they are not in city code, said Lisa Chronister, principal planner in the city’s current planning and urban design division.
If an architect is looking up city design codes, the Automobile Alley design guidelines are not required to be integrated, based on city ordinance. But that will likely change, Chronister said. She said the city planning office is revisiting the Automobile Alley guidelines and could reincorporate them into the downtown design ordinance.
Hornbeek’s business partner Tony Blatt returned this month with a building design that featured a brick front, punched out windows, and less glass. Mason said he supported the design. DDRC Chairwoman Betsy Brunsteter said the design was “much-improved.”
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