Another piece of American Modern Art is doomed to destruction at the hands of our credit-corrupted corporate developer culture.
This building is one of the few pieces of modern architecture in America that can dazzle Europeans and feature in their architectural magazines and books. I have seen photos of it beside masterpieces by Le Corbusier. Incredibly it is not even the only building by the architect John Johansen to gain international prestige. It continues to attract art photographers from all over the world- and locally as well. Along with Frank Lloyd Wright's Price Tower, it is among Okahoma City's most famous modern buildings. So why the FUCK are they going to destroy it?!?
Why else. OKC is a very conservative city, and there has never been shortage of seething resentment against this idiosyncratic brutalist structure since the day it opened. The promise of a 20-floor skyscraper is simply a pretext to tear down the Stage Center- in all likelihood there will be no 20-floor condo tower for many years to come- if ever at all. Such a thing could be built almost anywhere in this flat wide open city! It seems to me the city just wanted to write off a public building from their expenses, to erase all that it represents being from the civic-minded swinging 60s, being a public space for the arts. What better thing to stomp on the arts with than what will certainly be an ugly, wonky shaped new-urbanist glass prism with cheap aluminum accents and built by this Rainey guy's development firm, by illegals. It will be a hideous monstrosity that rises high above everything around it as a reminder to the entire city that design ought to be as superficial, undignified and unavoidable as possible. The Stage Center can be called ugly and argumentative to, from those who don't like it- but at least it FITS ITS SURROUNDINGS being a playful colorful building located in a park, below the trees, of the appropriate size and evoking an abstract arty image for the group it was meant to serve. Nevertheless, despite what the locals may desire and no matter how much funding (backed by credit) a property developer can throw on the table, a building like Stage Center is not just the property of a city government when it has graced the covers of international publications and is known throughout the world by the art and design communities, photographers and enthusiasts the world over. It is a piece of American Modern Art, it belongs to our country's history and culture. It is my building just as much as it is Oklahoma's. And I am deeply offended, and enraged, that such a thing is being stolen from my country by pigs. Let's hope I can, like a number of people commenting on the article, rush over there to get a look at it and some pictures before it is buried by a throwaway society with no self-image. Shame, Oklahoma City, shame.