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Lawton National Guard Armory | by Lynne's Lens
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Lawton National Guard Armory

Lawton National Guard Armory Designed by Paul Harris

Lawton, OK



Here's a blurb about these great mid-century structures from the Central OK AIA's Celebrate 100 guide:


"Brimming with new ideas in design and materials, Lawton architect Paul Harris hoped to create a model armory. He chose a thin-shell concrete dome to define the drill hall space, with a low wing to house the offices. Adjacent to the armory, he placed two maintenance garages with sine-wave roofs.


Both attractive and functional, the structure is atypical for post-World War II armories. The concrete dome sits atop an aluminum-clad concrete wall that hides a vent system, which -- when combined with the enormous exhaust fan located at the dome's apex -- creates an efficient air-circulation system during hot weather. LIght is brought into the drill hall through circular skylights forming two concentric rings around the dome.


When conceived, Harris thought his relatively inexpensive and flexible disgn would serve as a model for future armories everywhere. For whatever reason, it was not to be, but his genius was recognized when the armory joined the National Register in 2007."


Personally, I've always been very interested in Paul Harris's work because it so mirrors the work my grandfather was doing in OKC at the same time. Harris designed several thin-shell, modern wonders in and around Lawton during the 50's, but he died in 1958 while still in his prime years, which is why I think he's largely forgotten today. It's too bad because he was a brilliant architect who deserves to be recognized for the innovative and very futuristic work he did.

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Taken on December 2, 2011