Ambler Architects

Oklahoma Wesleyan University Library

Nestled in the hills of northeastern Oklahoma is a small university with a big mission. It is a place of serious study, honest questions, and intentional Christian living. The cornerstone of the campus is a 1930s mansion, designed by Edward Delk, planner of Kansas City's Plaza Shopping District. The mansion is on the National Register of Historic Places and is an excellent example of the Spanish Eclectic style. 

The concept for this design was a simple one, grounded in the life-giving waters of Jesus Christ.  The Chapel/Fine Arts Center represents God's Kingdom, from which the living waters of everlasting life flow freely.  As the waters course through the Learning Commons, we are reminded that God's love and power surround us, traveling through our lives each day.  As we cross the square, we come in contact with the waters, but unless we pay attention, they simply travel on their way.  It is through our thirst for knowledge and truth that we find God's love and comfort.

The New Library seeks to unify the various campus buildings by presenting a melding of styles:  the primary motif is neoclassical with rounded arches, an exterior tower and pergola which frames a beautiful terrace at the back of the building, overlooking the central pond.  There, students are reminded of their faith by the sculpture depicting the blind man at the pool of Siloam.  The pergola serves as a restful place to study and enjoy a beautiful view of the pond and the mansion beyond. 

At the entry to the Library, visitors are met by the four pillars of the school's beliefs, Christ, Scripture, Truth and Wisdom.  The pillars are incorporated into the design of the stair tower, which serves as the second means of egress from the second floor.

Upon entering the building, visitors find an open, light-filled space with comfortable seating areas and study spaces around the perimeter of both the first floor and mezzanine levels.  The interior finishes are simple and affordable.  The two floors are joined by an oak and iron staircase with glass risers which lighten its impact on the space.

The landscape for the project was kept to a minimum; tree plantings were selected with an eye toward the future.





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