Mid-Century Modern Architecture Close to Home – Part 1.

by Amy Collier

Unmarked office building, c. 1950s
Part of a small complex of structures originally built
by a local developer for a major oil company

Unmarked office building, c. 1950s
Steel clad tiles, decorative concrete brick screen

Unmarked office building, c. 1950s
Steel clad tiles, decorative concrete brick screen

Bank building, c. 1950s/60s
Concrete, granite, glass, metal
Architect unknown
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Editor’s note:
This has been at least three different banks over the years, fortunately all locally run. When I was a child my father’s office was on the top floor. Looking out the floor to ceiling windows through the massive elliptical concrete screen was a real fascination at a young age.

Bank building, c. 1950s/60s
Concrete, granite, glass, metal

Pioneer Drive Baptist Church, 1968
Architect unknown
Stone, brick, glass
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Editor’s note:
I particularly admire the graphic nature of this building including the bold arrows pointing heavenward, elements carried throughout the entire design.

Pioneer Drive Baptist Church, 1968
Stone, brick, glass

Pioneer Drive Baptist Church, 1968
Stone, brick, glass

Pioneer Drive Baptist Church, 1968
Stone, brick, glass

City Hall, c. 1950s/60s
Concrete, granite, rock, glass, metal
Architect unknown

City Hall, c. 1950s/60s
Concrete, granite, rock, glass, metal

City Hall, c. 1950s/60s
Concrete, granite, rock, glass, metal

Downtown Public Library, c. 1950s
Tile, stone, metal, concrete, glass
Architect unknown

Downtown Public Library, c. 1950s
Tile, stone, metal, concrete, glass

Devonian Building, c. 1950s
Brick, concrete decorative tiles, glass
Part of a small complex of structures originally built
by a local developer for one of the major oil companies
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Editor’s note:
This is where my 90 year father continues to office after several years. The interior definitely takes you back in time including the large scale mid-century textile wall pieces hanging in the brick stairwell, not to mention the musty aroma. It’s perfect.

Permian Building, c. 1950s
Brick, concrete decorative tiles, glass
Part of a small complex of structures originally built
by a local developer for one of the major oil companies

Permian Building, c. 1950s
Concrete decorative tiles

Permian Building, c. 1950s
Brick, tile, glass
Part of a small complex of structures originally built
by a local developer for one of the major oil companies

[ All images © Amy Collier ]
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

As mentioned in my prior post, I am visiting my home town for longer than expected following the holidays. Time is minimal and I am on a rather short tether due to the medical needs at hand. However, while running errands I decided to try to do something I had been meaning to for some time and that is to document a portion of the many relics of mid century modern architecture that pepper the city here. It initially began with photos of my father’s very 1950s office building and morphed out from there.

I grew up in west Texas and the 1950s and a portion of the 1960s were banner years locally with much growth due to a large oil boom in the region. The style of the buildings reflect this optimism. It is fortunate that being a smaller city these structures have withstood the test of time generally in much better fashion than many in the larger urban areas; many have been spared being demolished by developers and city planners or altered beyond recognition in the name of something bigger and better, aka ‘progress’.  Largely, these commercial, public and municipal buildings are maintained, occupied and the people inside are conducting business daily.

Some of these structures are ubiquitous and/or understated, some even bordering on the mundane. Others are less so as evidenced in future posts. But all display lovely traits that often are not immediately apparent at a drive by glance. I was pleased to step up closer to these buildings and discover design elements and details I had never noticed before. Some buildings caught my eye strictly due to their graphic attributes.

In the months ahead I hope to share more found MCM architectural bits from my travels and closer to home. You will find a portion of these images here on AQ-V plus these photos and more in larger format on flickr. Possibly you have quality photos of MCM buildings and details from your own stomping grounds you would like to share with our readers. We’d love to see them.

–Amy

 

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