The Architectural Genius of Bruce Goff

Bruce Goff in his studio | Goff Archive, Ryerson & Burnham Archives

Architect Bruce Alonzo Goff was born in Alton, Kansas on June 8, 1904 and passed away on August 4, 1982. He was a brilliant child with a talent for drawing, and in 1915, his parents moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he was later made an apprentice at the Tulsa architectural firm of Rush, Endacott and Rush by his father.

He became known for his totally unique style of architecture which delved into art deco, mid century modern, and organic themes. One of his most well-known works is Tulsa’s Boston Avenue Methodist Church, which he designed with his high school art teacher Adah Robinson as co-designer, and is considered to be one of the finest examples of art deco architecture in the United States.

He is also very well known for the incredible Bavinger House in Norman, Oklahoma, which featured rocky spirals and spires to elevate nature. Unfortunately, this amazing house had to be demolished because of storm damage. This might be my favorite house ever! I really love the intricate natural design of the Bavinger House.

Some more famous Goff buildings include the Sam and Ruth VanSickle Ford House at 404 S. Edgelawn Drive in Aurora, Illinois:

The Barby House in Tucson, Arizona:


Barby House (1974) by #BruceGoff #moderntucson

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The Al Struckus House that overlooks the San Fernando Valley:


al struckus house, bruce goff, 1984 | woodland hills

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And Shin’enKan, also known as the Joe D. Price House and Studio, in Bartlesville, Oklahoma:

He moved to Chicago in 1934 and taught at the Academy of Fine Arts there. In 1942 he began teaching at the University of Oklahoma, and by 1943 Goff was named chairman of the school. During this time, his creativity flourished and he built a large number of homes while developing his organic architecture style. After leaving the university, he went to work at the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Price Tower in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

Bruce was influenced by the Prairie Style of his fellow architects, Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan, as well as by the Catalan Modernist architect Antoni Gaudí, and the French composer Claude Debussy.

You can see more art deco buildings of Tulsa in my post on Downtown Tulsa’s Modern Architecture.

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