Posts tagged with "Oklahoma City":

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Rand Elliott-designed Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center set to open in 2020

The Oklahoma Contemporary Center for the Arts will relaunch in January 2020, housed in a brand new facility just east of downtown Oklahoma City. Designed by local firm Rand Elliott Architects, the building is part of the city’s Innovation District, which plays host to many of the area’s top employers and industries. Oklahoma Contemporary’s new location will offer significantly expanded space for exhibitions, performances, and educational programming.

The design of the new campus is inspired by the state’s distinctive landscape. The flagship building’s semi-reflective, aluminum facade undulates gently to evoke the changing light patterns characteristic of Oklahoma’s prairie climate. There has also been a concerted effort to connect the space to its surroundings. According to architect Rand Elliott, “Special attention has been given to creating the north-facing outdoor terrace with views of the Oklahoma State Capitol dome.” While the building itself will boast almost 54,000 square feet in floor space spread across four stories, there will also be a sculpture garden with rotating works adjacent to the building. The outdoor display area is supplemented by the Campbell Art Park next door, which hosts year-round exhibitions of large-scale sculptural work.

Visitors to the Oklahoma Contemporary will be greeted by a sculptural port-cochère, followed by a bright and airy lobby replete with amenities, including a cafe and retail store. In addition to the 8,000 square feet of gallery space for visual art, a dance studio, and a 200-seat theater, a lounge space on the ground floor of the centerpiece building will also be open for public use. The campus will include an additional historic warehouse building, which will host close to 10,000 square feet of studios for ceramics, fiber, metalwork, and wood sculpture.

Oklahoma Contemporary artistic director Jeremiah Davis sees the new building as an opportunity for the institution to serve as “an important catalyst for Oklahoma City’s ongoing cultural and economic renaissance.” With a dedicated stop on the city’s downtown streetcar line, the campus will serve as a recognizable landmark for locals and visitors alike, complete with a design element known as The Lantern—a tower that will extend above the roofline of the main building and remain illuminated through the night. The new design also gives Oklahoma Contemporary the opportunity to more effectively fulfill its own mission of providing Oklahomans with uninhibited access to world-class cultural resources.

Established in 1989 as a community-oriented arts center, the institution has spent much of its existence in a smaller, less central facility at Oklahoma City’s State Fair Park. With the new building due in January, directors and curators at Oklahoma Contemporary aim to expand the center’s bandwidth for both exhibits and programs. In the first year alone, nine exhibitions and dozens of events will welcome 100,000 guests to the facility. As has always been the case, all of the center’s exhibitions and programming will be free to members of the public.

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Bruce Goff’s imaginative teaching lives on in Oklahoma

Most architecture students study design precedents or build upon knowledge gained in history courses, but one mid-century educator repeatedly told young minds instead: 
Do not try to remember.
Bruce Goff, a self-trained architect and long-time mentee of Frank Lloyd Wright, instilled this idea in his students at the University of Oklahoma (OU) during his tenure as chairman there from 1947 to 1955. Instead of copying the popular Beaux Arts and Bauhaus styles of the recent past, Goff wanted architects in training to express their own creativity and views of the world through designs that avoided architectural stereotypes and instead presented a radical future. This era of educational exploration and disruption became known as the American School of architecture. Historian and OU Visiting Associate Professor Dr. Luca Guido is the curator behind the exhibition, Renegades: Bruce Goff and the American School of Architecture at Bizzell. Now on view in OU’s Bizzell Memorial Library, it details the widespread influence of Goff’s personal teaching style and the program he built, which attracted students to the American Midwest from as far as Japan and South America. The exhibit features large-scale drawings by alumni, as well as uncovered models and writings from Goff’s students and colleagues like Herb Greene, Elizabeth Bauer Mock, Bart Prince, Mendel Glickman, and Jim Gardner, and Bob Bowlby, among others. Built from the school’s expansive American School archives, the show unveils former students' work that’s been so pristinely preserved and restored, it all looks like it was completed yesterday. Goff, who seemed to have encouraged serious attention to presentation, penmanship, and shading, left behind what Guido considers a “gold mine” of materials. Every framed assignment on view is a piece of art in and of itself—a testament to the architectural educator’s guidance. “Bruce Goff introduced a new architectural pedagogy,” Guido said, “and the School of Architecture at OU endeavored to develop the creative skills of the students as individuals rather than followers of any particular trend. The drawings represent the evidence of an extraordinary and, at the same time, little known page of the history of American contemporary architecture.” That history is one that OU is now trying more heavily to build upon. As one of just two architecture schools in Oklahoma, OU lures students from across the state, nearby Texas, and around the globe to the small town of Norman. It was considered a world-class institution during Goff’s years and still seeks to live up to that legacy today. Since becoming head of the school three years ago, Dean Hans E. Butzer has worked to re-elevate its status. “Our discussions over the past few years prove a symmetry between those defining aspects of the American School and the overarching strategic priorities of the Christopher C. Gibbs College of Architecture,” he said. “The work of the American School of the 1940s, ‘50s, and ‘60s may be described as contextual, resourceful, and experimental. Today, we have set the goal of graduating entrepreneurial students who design resilient cities, towns, and landscapes through the lens of social equity and environmental sustainability.” This idea is evident in the success of last year’s graduating class. As of fall 2018, one hundred percent of architecture students secured a full-time position within six months of graduation, according to Butzer. Only two, the faculty jokes, didn’t get hired. They instead went on to begin master’s degrees at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. When asked why OU graduates are so attractive to firms across the country, Butzer noted the work ethic and creative problem-solving skills they learned as students. Teaching students to speak up, stand out, and work hard can be traced back to Goff’s presence at the school and his own career as an eccentric architect who always put the client first and aimed to “go the extra mile,” according to Guido. His modus operandi was to first connect deeply with the client, ensuring the end result was strictly their vision. His objective was to never design a building he personally wanted to live in. Some of Goff’s most famous structures, the Ledbetter House in Norman, the ill-fated Bavinger House that was demolished in 2016, as well as the Bachman House in Chicago, took on forms reminiscent of Wright’s residential work—low-lying residential homes with surprisingly large interiors, cantilevered carports, and large windows—but they all displayed a curious amount of flamboyancy that was signature to Goff himself. The architecture of his early years, such as the historic Tulsa Club and the Art Deco-designed Boston Avenue Methodist Church, are celebrated landmarks in Tulsa and reveal Goff’s visual personality. Goff was also a champion of sustainable and site-specific construction; he often utilized local materials for his projects. Fittingly, Goff rejected the idea of having a personal style of architecture. Some of Goff’s mid-century work and the sketches of his students from this time seem to be inspired by Atomic Age tropes. Viewing them now, they’re so futuristic they probably seemed structurally unbuildable at the time, but the geometries that came out of the American School were forward-thinking and technically-advanced. During Goff’s leadership, architectural courses fell within OU’s College of Engineering where students were taught how to complete construction drawings and to specify materials. But in Goff’s classes, it was all about creativity. “Bruce Goff didn’t believe in critiques,” said Guido. “He wanted them completely free to propose what they wanted. The assignments were structured around abstract themes that allowed the students to express themselves in the best possible way because for Goff, there would be no little Corbusier's, no little Mies's, and even no little Goff's. He didn’t want his students to become followers of someone. He wanted them to abandon all memory of what came before them.” Renegades: Bruce Goff and the American School of Architecture at Bizzell is on view through July 29 and will turn into a comprehensive traveling exhibition this year with a stop at Texas A&M University in the fall. The OU Libraries also has plans to secure the preservation of the archives by making them part of the school's Western History Collection and digitizing select images for online research.
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Historic Oklahoma City "Egg Church" is in danger of being demolished

The Egg Church. The Church of Tomorrow. An “honest architecture” that’s forever contemporary. Since its opening around Christmas in 1956, these are a few phrases that have been used to describe First Christian Church, a historic, organic modernist building in Oklahoma City. Designed by the then-young local firm, Conner & Pojezny, the 32-acre project quickly became a state treasure and was lauded as a major engineering feat by Life Magazine, Newsweek, and Architectural Record. The dramatic, concrete domed church—which has a mid-century Jetsons look—is newly in danger as its current owners aim to sell it to a buyer with plans to demolish the community icon. Oklahoma’s News 4 reported that dozens of demonstrators crowded outside First Christian Church last week in protest. Those in attendance included the executive director of Preservation Oklahoma and members of Okie Mod Squad, a group led by one of the church's architect's granddaughters, Lynne Rostochil. Representatives told News 4 they’re worried the building might be knocked down once it's successfully sold; the property went on the market in 2016 and only recently snagged attention from buyers when the asking price was drastically lowered from $8.2 million to $5.65 million. The broker behind the sale hopes it'll become a mixed-use development.  Many mid-century structures around Oklahoma City have come under threat in recent years. One of those was Founders National Bank, a Bob Bowlby–designed structure that boasted two, 50-foot exterior arches, It was leveled last October. Like R. Duane Conner and Fred Pojezny, who designed First Christian Church, Bowlby came out of an era in which architectural education in Oklahoma was transforming the industry. Bowlby studied at the University of Oklahoma under the direction of famous American architect Bruce Goff who was internationally known for his expressive, organic designs and for creating an innovative program with the school’s architecture department. Because of Goff's widespread influence, as well as the work coming out of Oklahoma A&M where Conner and Pojezny graduated, the city benefited from a slew of forward-thinking pieces of architecture, many of which have just surpassed or are nearing historic-designation age, meaning they’re potentially endangered if not in use. In order to protect First Christian Church, a Change.org petition started by Okie Mod Squad has been circulating that urges city council members to officially landmark the building, a designation that would require future development on the site to go through a public approvals process. Rostochil noted in a February post that thought the building was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 2011, this “in no way protects it from being demolished.” The move only now qualifies it for tax credits to repurpose or restore the structure.   The efforts of the “Save the Egg” protestors have resulted in a city council meeting happening on Tuesday, according to News 4, where local lawmakers will discuss whether or not the church can potentially be declared a landmark. If identified as such by the Historic Preservation Commission, then the new buyer would not be able to make significant changes to its original design without prior approval from the city's Historic Preservation Commission. The protections would include the entirety of the Edgemere Park property, not just the iconic, egg-shaped main sanctuary. Conner and Pojezny designed three additional structures on the church’s campus, including a four-story education building and a small fine arts complex known as the Jewel Box Theatre, the city’s oldest, continuously-operating community playhouse. It took the architects three separate tries over several years to come up with the current design for the $2.1 million development, which the church’s renowned minister, Bill Alexander, wanted to be a “Church for Tomorrow.” In an old newspaper clipping cited on Okcmod.com, the design team said they aimed to take a “decided departure from conventional church construction” by building an “honest architecture” that would make it forever contemporary.  For residents in Oklahoma City, not only does First Christian Church reflect the history and character of the region’s modern architectural landscape, but it also serves as a place of spiritual solace and refuge in tough times. In October of 1995, families gathered there after a terrorist struck a downtown federal building, killing 168 people and injuring over 600 others. The bombing remains one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in U.S. history and to many locals, First Christian Church stands as a memorial to community healing.
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A major mid-century modern bank in Oklahoma City gets leveled

A long-loved landmark in Oklahoma City faced the wrecking ball yesterday after being placed on the state’s Most Endangered Historic Places list in May. The former Founders National Bank, a mid-century modern structure featuring two distinct, 50-foot exterior arches, was listed for sale at $3 million last fall but couldn’t find a tenant leading up to Monday’s last-minute demolition, according to Oklahoma’s News 4. Situated near the Northwest Expressway on North May Avenue, the iconic building has been an architectural icon of the city since 1964. It was designed by Bob Bowlby, a student of famous Oklahoma architect Bruce Goff, and was originally built for Founders National Bank, eventually becoming the home of Bank of America for over 20 years until last August. It was Bowlby’s first project after finishing his degree at the University of Oklahoma and the only one he’s completed in his hometown.  Preservationists and advocates for the building are already mourning its loss. The unique arches—the focal point of the design—were easily visible from the city’s arterial roadways and drew people to the modernist building for well over half a century. Bowlby’s spaceship-like structure, sometimes also likened to a large-scale football, allowed the interior to be designed without walls. Brick walls and floor-to-ceiling glass windows lined the oval perimeter and a white, concrete roof seemingly floated atop its round core. Suspension cables, much like the ones seen on suspension bridges, connected the arches to the roof. A multi-lane drive-through was also designed next to the building. While several groups had repeatedly pushed to save Founders National Bank since news began circulating about its potential fate in early 2016, crews began tearing down the football-shaped structure this week—the same day a building permit was filed for its demolition. NewsOK noted that since the bank wasn’t protected by historical jurisdiction, its current owner, the Austin-based Schlosser Development Corp., was able to move forward with plans without consent from the city or public. In January 2016, an online petition to preserve the building was started via the modern architecture blog, Okie Mod Squad, and received 1,072 supporters. In a post dedicated to the event, Bowlby himself commented on the controversy:
My design and the subsequent building of the Founders National Bank building of 1964 is, I think, a one of a kind and interesting example of the contemporary Oklahoma architectural scene in its mid-century period and as such should be kept if at all possible as part of the architectural heritage of Oklahoma City. Surely, an effort could be made made by the new owners to find some new and suitable usage of the building.  
So far, Schlosser Development Corp. hasn’t released plans to redevelop the two-acre site. The building was one of many mid-century modern icons built in the city’s Founders District, as well as several others throughout the state of Oklahoma, including Goff’s Bavinger House, which was destroyed in 2016.
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This Oklahoma City project will feature a 42-foot-wide oculus

When I was in architecture school, I, like most of my contemporaries, doodled my way through lectures. In fact, I still do the same in meetings today. And as my pen inflicts the pages of whatever unfortunate sketchbook I have selected, I find myself more often than not being drawn to vandalizing the ring-binder hole punches in the margin.

Never once did a doodle around this area of any page of mine result in the design of a building. Perhaps that is why I am not an architect. A look at Rand Elliott’s Full Moon residential complex in Oklahoma suggests I missed a trick.

Elliott and his firm, Elliott + Associates Architects (EAA) have found a quite unique way to appease fire regulations and maximize a restrictive site to accommodate ten housing units. The 37-by-140-foot site at 322 North West 12th Street in Oklahoma City was, as Elliott described, “leftover” and “ignored” space.

The architect chose the site for this particular reason. “I think Oklahoma is lacking living spaces that have a wonderful personality to them,” he said, adding that discarded sites are often in great locations and have potential. “I set about to try to design something that would be distinctive, a landmark, and a real attraction to a certain group of people who want to live around creative and artistic people,” he explained.

In his assessment of the area, Elliott found that the percentage of window space available was limited. Having a series of small windows, he said, “seemed like a waste of time,” so instead he opted for an idea using an oculus 42 feet in diameter, embedded into a 60-foot-high sprayed-white concrete structure.

The oculus is oriented so that it frames views eastward, onto a 1920s modernist brick neighbor, and westward, where residents can look out at the dramatic sunrises and sunsets typical in Oklahoma. It also shelters a small garden area below.

EEA worked extensively with the city’s fire marshal’s office on the project. The unorthodox design required special attention due to the fire marshal having never encountered a proposal like this. Some design elements, such as the bridge spanning the upper level to provide more than one exit point, were born out of these discussions.

As for the housing units, Elliott explained, each one interacts with the oculus and, instead of each one being a “cookie cutter,” every unit has a unique floor plan. According to the architect, every unit offers an 180-degree view, each with a different perspective.

Work started on Full Moon roughly a year ago, and Elliott expects construction to start in the next few months, with the view to have people moving in in a year. Last year, EEA celebrated its 40th anniversary. “The best work that we’re doing is right now,” Elliott said. “They say architects produce their best work as they mature, and that’s what I’m feeling.”

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2016 Building of the Year > Southwest: U.S. Air Force Academy Center for Character and Leadership Development by SOM

The Architect’s Newspaper (AN)’s inaugural 2013 Best of Design Awards featured six categories. Since then, it's grown to 26 exciting categoriesAs in years past, jury members (Erik Verboon, Claire Weisz, Karen Stonely, Christopher Leong, Adrianne Weremchuk, and AN’s Matt Shaw) were picked for their expertise and high regard in the design community. They based their judgments on evidence of innovation, creative use of new technology, sustainability, strength of presentation, and, most importantly, great design. We want to thank everyone for their continued support and eagerness to submit their work to the Best of Design Awards. We are already looking forward to growing next year’s coverage for you.

2016 Building of the Year > Southwest: U.S. Air Force Academy Center for Character and Leadership Development

Architect: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Location: Colorado Springs, CO

The Center for Character and Leadership Development is a 46,000-square-foot education center located at a critical meeting point between the campus’s cadet and public areas. As an architectural focal point for the U.S. Air Force Academy’s campus—itself originally designed by SOM in 1954—the building’s dramatic 105-foot skylight aligns precisely with the North Star, creating a meaningful architectural interpretation of the Academy’s aspirations and guiding values. The Center contains a flexible gathering space for academic and social interaction; a series of collaboration, conference, and seminar rooms; offices; a library; and the Honor Board Room, where inquiries related to the Cadet Honor Code take place.

Lighting Consultant Brandston Partnership, Inc.

IT/Acoustics/AV Cerami & Associates Skylight glazing Interpane Storefront glazing Viracon

Honorable Mention: Building of the Year > Southwest: American Energy Partners Fitness Center

Architect: Allford Hall Monaghan Morris Location: Oklahoma City, OK This arched steel structure spans an existing unused concrete basement in northern Oklahoma City, dynamically transforming it into a sports and leisure hub that provides a wide variety of facilities, including two racquetball courts, a climbing wall, a basketball court, fitness studios, changing rooms, a cafe, and a running track.
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Deborah Berke redesigns an old Albert Kahn factory into a hip hotel

In 1916, trains could pull up directly to Oklahoma City’s Ford Motor Company Assembly Plant to deliver kits of parts for cars; in 1968, Fred Jones, once an entry-level worker at Ford, bought the plant and founded Fred Jones Manufacturing Company; and as of June 2016, hotel guests can check into the very same building to browse 14,000 square feet of art. Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson of 21c Museum Hotels worked with Deborah Berke Partners on their sixth collaboration together to transform the assembly plant into a boutique hotel.

The building, originally designed by Albert Kahn, is on the National Register of Historic Places. Berke and her team restored or recreated many of the plant’s original features, such as the Model T showroom’s terrazzo floor, casement windows, storefront, and entry, as well as the exterior lighting and Fred Jones Manufacturing signage. The car showroom space has been reimagined as a bar and lounge, and the original train shed is an outdoor bar and dining area. Industrial and mechanical fixtures throughout the 23 guest rooms and common areas reflect the structure’s automotive history. The building’s original penthouse apartment is now a suite. 

21c’s curator, Alice Gray Stites, commissioned artwork that also references the site’s industrial past with Woozy Blossom, a misting mechanical tree by Matthew Geller; James Clar’s River of Time, in which conveyor belts are covered with colored acrylic sheets to create moving panels that “flow” over a large LED clock, and other site-specific works. Rotating exhibitions will come through the hotel that highlight up-and-coming artists and the city’s own art scene.

21c Museum Hotel Oklahoma City 900 W Main Street Oklahoma City, OK Tel: 405-982-6900 Architect: Deborah Berke Partners

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RIVERSPORT Rapids is the latest extreme-sports addition to Oklahoma City’s riverfront

While cities around the country are transforming their riverfronts to encourage recreation, Oklahoma City is taking the Oklahoma River to the next level. The seven-mile-long formerly swampy stretch of land on the edge of downtown has been brought back to life through a series of dams and structures for adventure sports including kayaking, rowing, zip lines, climbing walls, hiking trails, high speed slides, and paddle boarding. The latest addition: RIVERSPORT Rapids, a 45.2 million, 11-acre whitewater rafting and kayaking center along the river; one of many attractions in a 60-acre stretch called the Boathouse District.

The whitewater center, engineered by Lyons, Colorado-based whitewater design firm S2o, is located just adjacent to the river. It includes two roughly 3,000-foot-long concrete channels (their angular lateral surfaces softened with plastic barriers), each stepping down about 24 feet. The average trip down takes about 10 to 15 minutes. Six 12,000-pound pumps send water from the bottom back up to the start, and large conveyor belts bring racers back up while still in their vessels.

“We put a Rocky Mountain experience in the Great Plains,” S2o president Scott Shipley said. His firm also engineered the London Olympic rowing center, Dorney Lake, and the U.S. National course in Charlotte, North Carolina. The nonprofit OKC Boathouse Foundation will operate the new center, offering rafting, kayaking, and tubing, among other activities.

“Oklahoma is a sports place. It’s really embraced this, and it’s helped create a renaissance here,” added architect Rand Elliott, whose Oklahoma City firm, Elliott + Associates, has designed and master planned the Boathouse District, a compilation of boathouses, entertainment venues, offices, and more, over the past 13 years. The rapids and the district were funded as part of MAPS 3, a one-cent sales tax initiative (already renewed four times since the early 1990s) that will give $777 million to new development citywide, with $60 million earmarked for the Oklahoma River. 

For years, the river, once known as the North Canadian River, was an almost dry waterbed that locals joked about mowing instead of rowing. A $53 million project completed in 2004 rejuvenated the river.

Along this stretch Elliott + Associates has designed angular glass and steel buildings that line up along the river like boats about to race. They include, among other structures, the Chesapeake Boathouse, CHK Central Boathouse, Devon Boathouse, CHK Finish Line Tower, and the SandRidge Sky Trail, a zipline course that resembles a crazy straw. At night the buildings are lined with different colors of LEDs, creating a mesmerizing draw for visitors.

“We’ve poured our whole life and soul into this to make it an architectural masterpiece in that everything is connected yet still individual and interesting,” said Elliott.

But the main event is still the water sports.

“As more people move to cities, they need this kind of recreation in their lives,” said Shipley, “We can bring it to where they live and work.”

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The tragedy of Mummers Theater and the failed development that spelled its demise

The sad saga of the destruction of John Johansen’s Mummers Theater in Oklahoma City has just gotten even sadder. AN has reported numerous times on the effort to save Johansen’s 1970 tour de force Stage Center theater, but that battle was lost in 2015 when the extraordinary building was destroyed to make way for a complex of four corporate towers designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects. The theater was destroyed and the site is now a vacant lot with a large rainwater-filled hole in downtown Oklahoma City. The Oklahoman newspaper and its reporter Steve Lackmeyer report that the tower project, meant to be a home for OGE Energy Corporation, has been put on hold due to the downturn in oil prices by its developer and builder Clayco. But Lackmeyer reports that the story is more complicated and may in part have been stopped because the developers wanted a government subsidy to build the project and it was not forthcoming. OGE acknowledged that “their vision is no longer feasible (and) this is a prime site and deserving of a bold development and OGE is committed to preserving it.” How sad that the site once had one of the boldest buildings in the United States and certainly the most distinguished work of architecture in the city and was destroyed to make way for a failed “bold development.”
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Letter to the Editor> A-OKC: Oklahoma City should reconsider demolishing its Modernist heritage

[Editor’s Note: Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email editor@archpaper.com] Thank you for your piece on Oklahoma City—much needed attention to what is happening there. Having grown up in Edmond, just north, I have watched good buildings disappear over time. Seeing Johansen’s model of Mummers Theater as a child was the first I became aware of architecture and that buildings could be different. I was truly amazed that what I was seeing was a theater! It was heartbreaking to watch it come down and I am still suffering from survivor’s guilt. I very likely would not be an architect if not for that building. Much of the concern over the fate of these buildings come from the coasts and I know that your work will help inspire the many in Oklahoma who value architectural diversity. Lyn Rice Terreform-ative
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Pittsburgh, Washington, Buffalo lead nation in growth of bicycle commuters

Portland still dominates the American Community Survey ranking the 70 largest cities with the highest share of bike commuters, but the list shakes up some preconceptions when you count which cities had the largest growth in the share of bicycle commuters from 2000 to 2013. The League of American Bicyclists runs the numbers every year, pulling data from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey. This year's bike culture report card, as it were, has Portland, Washington, San Francisco, Minneapolis, and New Orleans topping its list of bicycle commuters as a percentage of total population. In total 13 cities report more than 2 percent of their population biking to and from work. Growth in that number is more startling. They're small overall numbers, perhaps inflating the percent change figure, but the growth since 1990 for eight cities is over 100 percent. The following cities had the largest growth in the share of bicycle commuters from 2000 to 2013:
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Letter to the Editor> Murmurs for Mummers

[Editor's Note: The following are reader-submitted responses to the editorial “Acceptable if not Noble” (AN 03_04.30.2014_SW), which considered the imminent demolition of John Johansen’s Mummer’s Theater in Oklahoma City and the renovation of Ulrich Franzen’s Alley Theatre in Houston. Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email editor@archpaper.com. ] There were local groups working hard to preserve and repurpose the Mummers Theater and conceptual plans put forth that incorporated the existing theater into a larger cultural and commercial mixed-use complex. My father supported and encouraged these efforts as an important and necessary evolution of this building, and architecture in general, to reinvent itself by adapting and embracing new ideas and technology. The counterforce was money in the hands of opportunistic, short sighted men and women with too much power and too little imagination. Christen Johansen Rhode Island School of Design Franzen would have added the fly loft. And zinc cladding does not exactly bring to mind corporate office buildings. Craig Hunt