Oklahoma City, OK
The Vesper Building is located in the Historic Automobile Alley District. The district was the original automobile showroom and services area from 1914-1960, including Hudson, Essex, Packard, Cadillac, Pierce Arrow, Steinmetz and Chevrolet, totaling 54 dealerships.
Located one block from the Alfred P. Murrah Building that was destroyed in the 1995 bombing, the area is now emerging as an office and high tech area. Originally listed as a non-contributing building to the District, the owner seriously contemplated demolition for a surface parking lot. The architect suggested saving the structure and was commissioned to prepare phased options for restoration and reuse. Phase I (this phase) restored the exterior and converted the interior for temporary use as executive parking. Phase II includes the adaptive reuse of the ground level for a restaurant and the second level for offices.
The building demonstrates through leadership that “ugly” buildings can be saved and transformed into functional and contributing properties with creative thought. The historic precedent of automobile showrooms was compatible with the current use as automobile storage (i.e. parking) and thus was a continuation of history. The architectural “markings” of the original interior stairs, walls, ceilings and paint were left as evidence of the previous uses. The historic volume is filled with blue light relating to the glamour of the automobile during history. The concept demonstrates that historic structures can incorporate modern technology resulting in new use and new excitement. Our goal was to create a mysterious and memorable presence in an emerging Historic District that will attract new businesses and create excitement on the street.