The most world’s famous Flatiron Building – triangular, nicknamed for its resemblance to a clothing iron — is the NYC icon at 23rd and Fifth Avenue.
But flatiron buildings are found in cities worldwide – and for a decade, Oklahoma City has boasted two historic specimens that face each other on Harrison Avenue. The 1902 streetcar system created triangular blocks with rails laid diagonally along, northeast to Stiles Park turnaround. Known as OKC’s first park, it’s where the Beacon of Hope stands and Innovation District’s Innovation Hall is under construction.
Flatiron One is OKC’s ornate red brick 1914 Heierding building that houses Rand Elliott Architects. (For generations it was a thriving meat market/grocer with the family’s living quarters upstairs.) In 1995, REA completed restoration of what had been a burned-out shell, and moved in.
Flatiron Two is a Best of Year Award Winner that stood boarded up and abandoned for 26 years, The long-ago Como Hotel is a 1924 blond brick building that faces REA offices. Adding steel to brick, REA restored and expanded it in 2015 with a penthouse and roof terrace that present panoramic new views of the Downtown skyline. It houses an insurer for medical professionals named PLICO — an acronym for Physicians Liability Company.
Restoration found the building exterior in surprisingly good shape. Bricks, each stamped 1924, and corner-weaving details were intact, requiring just a cleaning. Windows were simply replaced. Inside, though, was gutted. REA exposed structural elements, leaving them visible through new partitions of translucent polycarbonate for what Elliott calls “a historical building lesson.” Space planning made its 20,000 square feet function fully, and interior lighting creates a beautiful lantern effect along both Harrison and NE 5th.
“Leave it to Interior Design Hall of Fame member Rand Elliott to transform this long abandoned landmark into a lantern of delight.”
– Interior Design editor Cindy Allen –