By ROGER COFFEY, AIA
Following World War II, new construction proliferated in Tulsa to meet a demand which had been growing since the depression of the 1930s. Although many apartments were built, it was not until the 1960s that condominiums became a significant project type. In 1965, Liberty Tower appeared on Tulsa’s skyline.
At 254 feet, 23 stories tall, Liberty Tower was one of Tulsa’s earliest contemporary high-rise condominium towers. Designed by Kelley-Marshall Architects, it dominates the southwest corner of 15th Street and Boulder Avenue. Its formal address is 1502 S. Boulder Ave.
The building and its surface parking lot to the west, occupies an entire city block. The amenities provided at Liberty Tower are numerous. These include, a parking garage at lower level topped by an outdoor pool, designated guest parking, a small library, commercial office space, and a tenant lounge. A floor plate with a center double loaded corridor accessing units, both sides allows each to have a generous exterior balcony. Security is emphasized with a strategically placed on-site building management office suite and reception desk.
Liberty Tower’s exterior is a palate of shades of gray. The face of the base which is the first two floors at Boulder Avenue is gray brick punctuated with two story storefront with light colored spandrels. At the west, due to the slope of the site, this base becomes three stories. Periodic vertical slits every four to six feet provide ventilation for the parking garage.
The tower rises off this base with an aggressive cantilever on the east (Boulder) and south. Four expanses of light gray rubble faced masonry become vertical pylons at the east and west elevations. These elevations are symmetrical. The pylons are separated by three vertical banks of metal railed balconies. Each balcony is separated into two parts with a dividing partition.
Capping the tower is a simple overhanging roof with a thin flat fascia in a shade of pale gray.
One of the notable images of Liberty Tower is its maintenance. The exterior is very clean. The public areas are pristine. They could have been finished out yesterday. Of course, this is an outward expression of a very active condominium association, known in downtown property owner circles for its aggressive representation.
It’s not surprising that Liberty Tower remains virtually full. Only occasionally do units come on the market for sale and when they do, they do not linger.