Oklahoma City's Founders Tower to host 2014 Symphony Show House

by Richard Mize Modified: November 16, 2013 at 3:00 pm •  Published: November 16, 2013

Call it hitting a historic high note — a historic high-rise note.

The 18th-floor Penthouse at Founders Tower will afford a nearly 7,000-square-foot high-rise canvas for top designers for the 2014 Symphony Show House, organizers said Friday.

The popular fundraiser isn't for six months yet, but the Oklahoma City Orchestra League revealed its plans this week knowing the unusual venue probably would spark even more attention than usual. The event, dubbed “A View to a Thrill,” will raise money and awareness for music education.

Fifty-year-old Founders Tower was influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright's Price Tower in Bartlesville, completed in 1955, and nationally known Oklahoma architect Bruce Goff's boldness in tower design.

Originally called United Founders Tower — for developer-owner United Founders Life Insurance Co. — it is architecturally remarkable, from its once-revolving restaurant space on the top floor, to the cantilevered balconies that grace each vertex around its 10-sided exterior, to its drive-up base, oriented as it is to auto travel.

Just as noteworthy, perhaps, is the historic skyscraper's place in many Oklahomans' memories.

“Visiting the restaurant atop United Founders Tower was a very special experience for many Oklahomans, with thrilling vistas, the excitement of the revolving platform and the sense of arrival at the end of its broad landscaped boulevard,” preservation consultant Steven McQuillin noted on the registration for the building's entry on the National Register of Historic Places.

Organizers of the Symphony Show House hope to capitalize on Founders Towers' history — and view, inside and out.

“Founders Tower has a special place in the memories of so many Oklahomans,” said Debbie Minter, president of the Orchestra League. “This event will give everyone a chance to view it at its most elegant.”

The Show House committee, led by co-chairwomen Rhonda White and Pandy Pinazza, have selected designers for the project and are now seeking sponsorships and planning for associated events including a boutique and cafe to operate during the public event May 3-18 next year.

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by Richard Mize
Real Estate Editor
Real estate editor Richard Mize has edited The Oklahoman's weekly residential real estate section and covered housing, commercial real estate, construction, development, finance and related business since 1999. From 1989 to 1999, he worked...
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The 18th-floor Penthouse at Founders Tower will afford a nearly 7,000-square-foot high-rise canvas for top designers for the 2014 Symphony Show House, organizers said Friday.

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