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Your morning Goffee
October 21, 2010 7:57 AM   Subscribe

Bruce Goff (1904 - 1982) was either a creative genius or the worst architect of the 20th century. At best, his astoundingly diverse body of work resembles a cross between Frank Lloyd Wright and The Gobbler; at worst it recalls Middle-Earth or industrial storage. His designs, many of them unbuilt, run the gamut from geometric abstraction to organic imitation. Forgotten for years, Goff retains a small following, particularly in Oklahoma, where he spent most of his career. Today he's experiencing a minor resurgence in popularity.

Some video tours.
posted by theodolite (22 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

 
That's just stupendous. He clearly felt confident and free enough to not be consistent, and even his "worst" is really quite beautiful. Thanks!
posted by Ahab at 8:14 AM on October 21, 2010


Yes, I'm quite taken by the worst ones too.
posted by ninebelow at 8:45 AM on October 21, 2010


Thanks for this! I enjoy whimsy in design, even if it comes across as "theme" or "genre" architecture.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:57 AM on October 21, 2010


I want to make a Wayne Coyne joke, but can't quit make it work.
posted by mecran01 at 9:25 AM on October 21, 2010


I want to make a Futurama joke, but I'm not that smart and I'm scared of the spider sitting atop the Hopewell Baptist Church. Otherwise, these are cool-looking!
posted by not_on_display at 9:36 AM on October 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow, I'm really digging these! Thanks for this post!
posted by Greg Nog at 9:37 AM on October 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


You say it's the worst, but goddamn do I want a house like that Middle-Earth one. Just a small place with infinite atmosphere and wi-fi access.
posted by Rory Marinich at 9:39 AM on October 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Fascinating. Nice post. I like the "Friends of Kebyar" architecture mag. Not so keen on hobbit houses, but each to his own.
posted by rhymer at 9:47 AM on October 21, 2010


Oh, good, The Gobbler. If I could have your attention for just 30 seconds. Thank you.
posted by clockwork at 10:31 AM on October 21, 2010


Back in the '90s I walked by this Carmen Street house on my way to and from work, occasionally stopping to read the small plaque sunk into the front yard when I forgot what it said. I would love to see inside that place.
posted by Work to Live at 10:31 AM on October 21, 2010


As a native Tulsan, Bruce Goff's work is part of the landscape of my youth. The Boston Avenue Methodist Church is absolutely breathtaking. In a town known for Art Deco architecture, it's the shining star.
posted by Shohn at 10:34 AM on October 21, 2010


Back in the '90s I walked by this Carmen Street house on my way to and from work, occasionally stopping to read the small plaque sunk into the front yard when I forgot what it said. I would love to see inside that place.

I live about a block from that house - in fact, walking past it every day was the impetus for this post. Small world.
posted by theodolite at 10:40 AM on October 21, 2010


Such great work! I've never heard of him. I'm going to ask my grandpa (former architect in the Chicago area) about him this weekend. Thanks!
posted by Sreiny at 10:43 AM on October 21, 2010


Guys like this are why I'm certain I would have been a fabulous architect, if I'd realized my passion for it before I was out of school. I often think of going back. After reading about this guy, more than ever.
posted by davejay at 10:54 AM on October 21, 2010


I should note that it comes not from a place of "well, even >I<>
posted by davejay at 10:55 AM on October 21, 2010


Trying that again: I should note that it comes not from a place of "well, even *I* can do better than that!" but rather "we really do accept the typical as traditional, but there's a place in this world for residential architecture that is functional and delightful, and also outside the norm."
posted by davejay at 10:57 AM on October 21, 2010


Goff is an interesting character. His protege of sorts is Bart Prince who keeps the Southwest organic architecture tradition alive and well.

I was fortunate enough to spend a summer architecture studio in Albuquerque and had a chance to walk through his personal home. It was awe inspiring.
posted by Benway at 11:01 AM on October 21, 2010


"You can build a mansion / But you just can't live in it."
posted by scody at 11:45 AM on October 21, 2010


As an aside, not a single reference to Bergholt Stuttley Johnson yet?
posted by FormlessOne at 2:02 PM on October 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


According to this, he had something of a troubled private life, though details are not forthcoming. Sad to hear that. (The troubled private life, not the lack of details.)

Interesting work, but not for me.

But then, neither is FLWright.
posted by IndigoJones at 2:31 PM on October 21, 2010


The Gobbler, fuck yeah!
posted by MikeMc at 3:00 PM on October 21, 2010


So the Price house, Shin'enKan, was burned down by arson in 1986. But maybe it was intended to burn -- the large dark rocks in the walls were coal.

Goff is a very hit-or-miss architect. When he missed, well, you got the Bachman House. When he hit, you got Boston Ave Church.

And seriously, as someone who grew up in Tulsa... that place is spectacular inside and out. It's an Art Deco cathedral. (Which is kinda interesting given there actually is an Art Deco cathedral about a mile away -- Christ The King, which was intended to be the bishop's seat but Rome chose the more classical downtown church instead when the diocese was split off.)
posted by dw at 7:15 PM on October 21, 2010


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