Frank Lloyd Wright's Price Tower
Commissioned by Harold Charles Price, Sr. (1888-1962) as a corporate headquarters for his local oil pipeline and chemical firm H. C. Price, the Price Tower was originally designed in 1929 as a proposal for an apartment building called St. Mark’s Tower in New York City but was nonetheless unrealized due to the effects of the Great Depression.
Mr Price was initially directed to Wright by architect Bruce Goff, who was the Dean of Architecture at the University of Oklahoma, Wright was delighted to have the opportunity to build his tower on the plains of Oklahoma, and he nicknamed the building “The Tree that Escaped the Crowded Forest” because it had escaped the crowded “forests” of Manhattan skyscrapers.
Built between 1952 and 1956 the design was conceptualized as a tree-like mast supported by a central “trunk” of four elevator shafts anchored by a deep central foundation. Its 19 concrete floors cantilever like branches of a tree. Freed from their load-bearing function, the exterior walls become ornamental screens decorated in patinated copper “leaves” and gold-tinted glass. The materials for the Price Tower were equally innovative for the era: cast concrete walls, pigmented concrete floors, and aluminum-trimmed windows and doors.
The Price Tower is Frank Lloyd Wright’s only skyscraper, and also one of only two Wright structures to have a vertical orientation, back In 2007 the building was designated as a National Historic Landmark, and in 2008 it was one of ten other buildings by Wright that were submitted to the World Heritage Trust.Photographed in Bartlesville, OK