So, why did developer Richard McKown hire a firm out of London? First off, let’s understand that long distance isn’t as expensive as it once was now that we’re in the digital age. Of course, that didn’t change the game here. Instead, a hometown boy, Wade Scaramucci, was seeking an opportunity to bring a new outside influence to downtown Oklahoma City architecture.
And guess what? He figured out how to tackle the incline that prevails throughout Deep Deuce:
It works. Through the use of stepped down store fronts, Level’s ground floor connects directly with the sidewalk, is home to a Native Roots Market and soon a pub-style Johnnies Hamburgers.
Level isn’t without some critics in the design community who question whether the white exterior will age well. But for now, it’s far better regarded than the 2nd Street Lofts. And Scaramucci’s firm is getting more and more work, including Level West that will be built this summer:
Bradshaw, teamed up with Charlie Nicholas, hired a new outsider for the second phase of the Maywood Apartments, which is set to be built later this year. The designs are far different than Bradshaw’s previous two projects, and I’ve heard a lot of praise for the renderings since I reported on the project on Tuesday:
I’m almost certain that Paul’s post is inspired by the sudden burst of work being done by GTF Design – work that is generally getting rave reviews.
Their first big project, to my knowledge, was The Edge, which is being built by Nicholas’ firm and developed by Gary Brooks.
This week they’ve got renderings coming out not just for the second phase of the Maywood Apartments, but also the east Bricktown development being done by Brooks and Andy Burnett. This rendering by GTF was presented today to the Bricktown Urban Design Committee – again to rave reviews:
This blog post is not meant to be a slam on HSE. There are other firms that were active downtown that have slipped a bit in their share of the work. And the locals can change. ADG Inc. was starting to lose out on some work – but got back into the mix with their often praised design for the Bricktown Holiday Inn Express:
I’ve got high regard for ADG Inc. I have friends in that shop, people I’ve admired for a long time. But whether they’re responsible or not, their design for Legacy at Arts Quarter was seen as a low point. Some other designs pitched for projects that didn’t move forward were seen, according to some observers I’ve talked to, as being too much rehash of prior concepts. Whether that’s a fair complaint of not, the Holiday Inn Express marked a dramatic change in how Bricktown hotels are designed – and I’m eager to see what they might do next. The ability and willingness to adapt, change, and throw out prior thoughts on urban design may not be the only reason for the influx of out-of-state firms – but an embrace of such qualities certainly won’t hurt the chances of our talented locals to stay in the competition.
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