It was the order of the day for fourth grade students at Tahlequah Public Schools who traveled to downtown Tulsa on Wednesday, October 12 for a tour of the Tulsa Foundation for Architecture, to find great detectives for buildings become.
The RISE students were introduced to some of the city’s earliest architectural gems, which can be found up and down Boston Avenue. Students toured the Philcade, Philtower, Atlas Life Building, Gallais / Kennedy Building, Exchange National Bank (now BOK), and the Mid-Continent Tower. The buildings were built between 1916 and 1928 and displayed the Beaux-Arts, Gothic, Art Deco or Modern, Classical Revival and Sullivanesque styles. The TPS students were led by Jennifer Gates, a Tulsa town planner, and Kristen LeBass, a conservationist from LeBass Design.
Students were encouraged to note the various surface materials that were used to decorate the buildings, including terracotta, marble, granite, limestone, and brick. They rubbed off the various textures, sketched various buildings, and found that the decorative rain outlets were called scupper. A tour of the tunnel, which Waite Phillips used to reduce the chances of an abduction, was a huge success for the students, as was the huge functioning vault in the basement of the Exchange National Bank building.
At the end of the tour, students focused more specifically on Exchange National Bank and with the help of their TFA tour guides, answered questions about it, including style, design, age, materials, and its relationship and purpose with the community. This tour expanded students’ knowledge of large buildings and sparked their interest in engineering, architecture, and design.