Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project

 

 
Campus

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Institution Name: Oklahoma Christian University
Original/Historic Place Name: Campus
Location on Campus:
Date(s) of Construction:
1958original campus construction Caudill Rowlett Scott, Architects
Designer: Caudill Rowlett Scott, Architects (CRS)
Type of Place: Campus arrangement
Style: (Glossary)
Significance: landscape
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Function:
ca. 1958-present (2006)master plan (campus)
 

Narrative:
In 1956, Central Christian College, then located in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, chose to move to Oklahoma City and selected for its new campus an open site of 200 acres. They employed the architectural firm of Caudill, Rowlett, and Scott not only to design the initial buildings but to develop a campus plan that would locate the sites for future buildings.

The firm did extensive research into the question of how buildings on a college campus should be located and found that typically a college would start with a small cluster of buildings but that then, as new buildings were added, the original plan was not flexible and the arrangement became rather chaotic. They proposed, therefore, that the new campus for Oklahoma Christian would be "zoned" just like a city, and that the zones would be expandable and remain intact.

To achieve this result, they placed the academic zone along the eastern side of the campus and the student housing zone on the western side. In between these two zones was an intermediate zone for those functions which would need to be accessed from both the academic zone and the housing zone, as for example the library, student center, and gymnasium. The campus loop road was built to go on the exterior of these zones, leaving pedestrian access to all parts of the campus without crossing any roads. The zones were expandable to the north and south. Thus, the initial buildings could begin with a proper relationship to each other in the zones and, when new buildings were added, the zones could remain intact.

Caudill, Rowlett, and Scott also designed the first seven buildings: four buildings in the academic zone, a student center/cafeteria in the intermediate zone, and two residence halls in the housing zone. These buildings were all built on a modular plan, which meant the internal walls were rather easily modified, and as needs changed, even the buildings themselves could be expanded in size so as to leave the general architectural appearance intact.

In the years since the first seven buildings were completed in 1958, Oklahoma Christian University (the current name) has generally followed the original design. A library and gym have been added to the intermediate zone. The original student center has been expanded four times, and other academic buildings have been added in their zone. While the original academic buildings have not been expanded, their internal walls have often been changed to suit changing needs. A building for the College of Biblical Studies was built in the intermediate zone so it could sit in the center of the campus and near the main entrance, thus indicating the importance of that area to the curriculum.
 

References:

Caudill, Rowlett & Scott Architects. Proposed Campus Plan for Central Christian College [now Oklahoma Christian University]. [Houston, TX: Caudill, Rowlett & Scott Architects, n.d.].

 

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Last update: November 2006