I.M. Pei And Oklahoma City

Although I.M. Pei did not make any structures in Oklahoma I found it fascinating and important to tell the influence he had in our very own Oklahoma City, even though many find it controversial. After World War II Oklahoma City experienced a large increase in urban sprawl, even looking at it today you can see how far OKC has spread for the small amount of people that actually live in the city. In 1962 the city council wanted to do something about it so they put forward the Urban Renewal Authority. With that many local business elected Pei to create a new plan for downtown Oklahoma City. I.M. Pei developed the Central Business District in 1964, he planned on converting a few streets into one way streets like Reno, Sheridan, and Robinson. But this also meant the demolition of a few existing buildings. That is mainly where all the controversial arguments emerged from, and it is understandable since they demolished historical building like the Criterion Theater, the Baum Building, and the Biltmore Hotel. Which is a little unfair to Pei since he always intended for the Biltmore Hotel to remain as seen by the image below of the mummers theatre. Even today we still somewhat model our new downtown plans after Pei’s design, this is to a small extent. Today they have Pei’s plans and models are on display at the COX Convention Center.


I.M. Pei explaining his OKC design

mummers theater stage center early rendering

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