What Art Deco is at Tulsa’s Pythian (Gillette Terrell) Building?

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Gillette Tyrrell (Pythian) Building

The Gillette-Tyrell Building was a half-fulfilled business venture of oilmen J.M. Gillette and H.C. Tyrrell. Their plan was to build a 13-story building of offices and hotel space.

which is often referred to as the Pythian was originally designed to have thirteen floors.

but due to budget limitations was reduced to three floors. 

The Gillette-Tyrell Building Their original goal was to build a 13-story building that showcased the stature of Tulsa during its “Oil Boom” as a showcase for Tulsa’s first “International Oil Exposition” to be held in 1930. construction began in 1929, the Stock Market crash of 1929 forced the builders to alter their plans andreduce the height of the building to only three floors.

Pythian (Gillette Terrell) Building
Address:              423 S. Boulder, Tulsa OK
Built:                   1930
Deco Style:         Pueblo Deco
Motif:                 Zigzag
Architects:          Edward W. Saunders
Artists:                                       
NRIS:                     82003703
Web:  
Wiki:                Pythian Building – Wikipedia
The Gillette-Tyrell Building (often referred to as the Pythian) was originally designed to have thirteen floors but due to budget limitations was reduced to three floors. 
 
The building is one of Tulsa’s most impressive Art Deco examples with a unique décor both inside and outside. 

Notice the strong vertical zigzag motifs that are expressed on the exterior walls of the building.
      
  
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Pueblo Deco Styled Gillette Terrell building in Tulsa Oklahoma

Tulsa Downtown Walkling Tour

The Gillette Terrell Building can ve seen while walking the Tulsa Downtown Art Deco Walkling Tour.

Pueblo Deco Style

Strong vertical zigzag motifs, on the exterior walls of the building make it look typically like a typical Zigzag styled building of the 1920’s. Edward Saunders, the building architect, described the building as the integration of several styles of architecture including Italian, Spanish, and American Indian motifs as well as the Zigzag style.

When the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, (NRIS #82003703), they listed the buildings architecture as a mix of the Art Deco Modern and Zig Zag styles.[1] 

The building is also listed as a contributing property on the National Register of Historic Places for the Oil Capital Historic District (NRIS #10001013).

Exterior   Design

The building still has the original richly decorated tiled interior and terra cotta exterior which are testaments to the craftsmanship and durability of the materials. The exterior is covered by eye catching terra-cotta in a Zigzag vertical design.  The blue and gold parapet along the roofline is striking. 

Interior   Designs

The interior of the building is an L-shaped floor plan with the North – South hallway providing the primary building entrance.

North – South Hall

The Gillette Terrell building has a richly decorated lobby with colorful tile walls and mosaic tile floors. Notice the Native American design of the floor tiles and the

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Tiled Walls

The tiled half walls are sectioned by vertical zigzag patterns topped by individually unique mosaics. Also notice the Italian/Spanish styled balcony guard rails above the elevators.

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Notice the Native American design of the tiles incorporating common art deco fans atop the faux pilasters along the walls.

Tile   Floors

The tile floor exhibits a unique American Indian zigzag deco style.

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Ceilings

Notice the Art Deco zigzag chandeliers centered within a variety of styles of tile works. You have traditional Zigzag art deco fans center within native American and non-descript art styles.

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Molded Suspended Ceilings

The ceilings are ornately molded coffered plaster. Complex geometric art deco designs adorn beams and molding around the ceiling sections. The variety of styles seen in the shells are reminiscent of the Spanish styles. It is a unique combination with Italian flowers and various Native American symbols.













Natural lighting is provided by etched glass windows above each doorway and art deco glass lanterns suspended from the center of the ceiling modules.

Stairwell & Mezzanine

The North-South and East-West hallways intersect a lobby with elevators and an open mezzanine balcony.

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A stairwell with cast iron railings and tile steps leads to the balcony.  Light fixtures are inset and centered in a deco pattern radiating from the light.

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Summary