Page D1.1 . 10 April 2002                     
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    Plains Design

    by David Dillon

    To some Americans, Oklahoma is a foreign country, where the wind comes sweeping o'er the plains; a hot dry place, impressively flat and infinitely extended, yet with pockets of remarkable beauty in the form of blood red earth, golden grasslands, and a sky the shape of an inverted tureen. Here the frontier spirit lives on in small towns and vast wheat and cotton farms, and Native American influences are everywhere.

    Like most frontiers, Oklahoma mocks fussiness and pretension. It is a place for pragmatists who know how to do a lot with a little. It is a place for spare, uncluttered design that solves problems instead of concocting Faberge effects.

    It is neither the epicenter of the latest trends nor a focus of national critical scrutiny. Few Oklahoma architects have the luxury of specializing in resorts or art museums; doing well here means making the most of what comes along.

    Out of these limitations, Rand Elliott has been making compelling architecture for 25 years. "I am looking for a spirit or an emotion that comes from here," he observes, "one that I can bring to my architecture and that won't run dry."

    Out of this search has come a body of work that is stunning in its execution and remarkable in its range houses, museums, office buildings, interiors, restoration, and adaptive reuse. No big civic or institutional commissions; no big work of any kind, for that matter.   >>>

     
    This article is excerpted with permission from Elliott + Associates: Listening to the Land by David Dillon and Rand Elliott, published by L'Arca Edizioni, Milan, Italy.

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    ArchWeek Image

    The K. J. McNitt Construction Company building, Oklahoma City, by Elliott + Associates.
    Photo: Bob Shimer/ Hedrich Blessing

    ArchWeek Image

    On the upper floor, supporting pipes recycled from oilfields define the office spaces.
    Photo: Bob Shimer/ Hedrich Blessing

     

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