AD Classics: Bavinger House / Bruce Goff

Photo by Lynne Rostochil -

The mid-century modern movement found an odd yet welcoming home in the small town of Norman, . One of its most notable contributors was organic aficionado . Goff came to popularity in the 1940’s as both instructor and practitioner of his eclectic brand of architecture. Goff’s 1950′s Bavinger House is seen by many as the crowning achievement of his extensive body of work.

Photo by Lynne Rostochil -

The Bavinger House put a new twist on the naturalist modernism of Goff’s contemporaries. Where Wright used flat planes and conventional floor plans, Goff introduced distinctive floor plans, mixing materiality with eccentric spaces to produce a desired effect.

Photo by Lynne Rostochil -

Evoking a castle-like sense of earthy monumentality the home rises against the forested landscape, eventually reaching its ultimate point. The walls are made of locally quarried “ironstone” that is replaced intermittently with large blue pieces of glass cullet. This added extra gives a whimsical charm to this organic growth of architecture.

Photo by Lynne Rostochil -

The spiraling roof which covers the whole of the structure is supported by cables connected to the center mast. The exterior stone walls seem to grow out of the landscape and surround the house, adding to its connection with the earth.

Photo by Lynne Rostochil -

The interior consists of floor “pods” radiating off of the central axis. These floor planes are hung off of the walls and central support as they climb to their apex. Each pod serves a different purpose containing bedrooms, withdrawing space and study space, all of which are open to the space below unless closed off with curtains.

Photo by Lynne Rostochil -

With recent rumors of roof collapse and waning funds to restore and maintain the structure, the future of this modernist masterpiece is uncertain. This is an unfortunate pattern that is being seen for many modern masterworks. Despite its age the Bavinger House still evokes ideals of earth-bound natural and symbolic architecture.

Architect: Bruce Goff
Location: Norman, Oklahoma, USA
Project Year: 1950 – 1955
References: NRHP, BavingerHouse, GreatBuildings
Photographs: Lynne Rostochil

Cite: LeMaire, Greg. "AD Classics: Bavinger House / Bruce Goff" 23 Sep 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 01 Sep 2014. <>

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    Mr. Bavenger explained to me that he had given serious consideration to applying sculpted foam to the roof in order to drastically cost. The he explained was originally to be from foam. Much to his surprise it was copper clad.

    Beautiful place for Oklahoma any assistance you may need in raising funds please do not hesitate. After ten years with his friend my John Belt, I might be of service in fund raising, corporate events, etc…

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