PaperCity Magazine

December 2018- Dallas

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Page 87 of 111

O ne is most fortunate to meet a true genius in one's lifetime, but even more fortunate to become friends with that genius. Such was my good fortune to become a friend of Bruce Alonzo Goff — architect, artist, composer/musician, craftsman. Mr. Goff was the most original, extraordinary person I have ever known in my life. As an architect, I have known and worked with many well-known people and projects ranging from Pennzoil Place to the Rothko Chapel, and with individuals including Philip Johnson, Dominique de Menil, John Chase, and Howard Barnstone. But Mr. Goff was the most extraordinary of them all. At the age of 22, Mr. Goff designed one of his masterpieces, the Art Deco-style Boston Avenue United Methodist Church, while working with the respected Tulsa architectural firm Rush Endacott Rush. VISION ORGANIC MODERN When he was 25, he became a partner in Rush, Endacott & Goff, which closed during the Great Depression. After serving with the Navy Seabees during World War II, with only a high school diploma, he took a teaching position with the College of Architecture at the University of Oklahoma in 1947. After one semester, he was made the dean of the architecture college, a position he held until 1955. During his tenure, the architecture program became very well known and garnered students from all over the world. Two of his closest friends were Chicago architect Louis Sullivan and Sullivan's protégé, Frank Lloyd Wright. It was following this period that he created some of his most extraordinary work in the modern vernacular he was famed for. Goff defined an approach and style that came to be called, in the post-war period, organic architecture and often included unexpected and novel materials honed from nature or industry that he placed within each structure to lend an air of humanity and root it to place. Of his homes, the two most well known are Shin'en Kan, designed for Joe Price in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and the Bavinger House, in Norman, Oklahoma — both now gone. Los Angeles County Museum of Art's Pavilion for Japanese Art is the most publicly visible. The Hopewell Baptist Church in Edmond, Oklahoma, is one of the must-see buildings on a Goff pilgrimage, and was built in the shape of a teepee using reclaimed steel parts of old Oklahoma oil derricks. Goff used five- and-dime ashtrays to make the original chandeliers, but all are now missing. (The church is in poor repair, but a local group is trying to raise funds for restoration, via Finally, I'd single out the Redeemer Lutheran Church Educational Building in Bartlesville; I love the arrows and glass cullets in the walls. Goff used cullets, broken chunks from the glass-making process, as well as coal, to enliven many of his buildings' walls, a striking characteristic from the Bavinger House, in Norman, of the previous decade. ARCHITECT ROBERT MORRIS WRITES ABOUT HIS MENTOR, THE LATE VISIONARY AMERICAN ARCHITECT BRUCE GOFF. THE CONVERSATION THAT BEGAN THEIR FRIENDSHIP TOOK PLACE IN TYLER, TEXAS, ONE SPRING WEEKEND 39 YEARS AGO. THE TALENT WHO BROUGHT THEM TOGETHER WAS ANOTHER ARCHITECT OF NOTE: IT ALL STARTED WITH FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT. Bruce Goff's Pavilion for Japanese Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1978-1988 (opened posthumously). The architect's last major project was paid for in part by Goff's Oklahoma client, Joe Price, an acclaimed collector of Edo Period Japanese art. DURST-GEE HOUSE IMAGES COURTESY ABRAMS, FROM GREAT HOUSES OF TEXAS BY LISA GERMANY, PHOTOGRAPHY GRANT MUDFORD, PUBLISHED 2008. LACMA IMAGE COURTESY ARCHINFORM.NET. BAVINGER HOUSE EXTERIOR COURTESY ARCHINECT.COM, INTERIORS COURTESY ARCHDAILY.COM, NGANSANOVA.LIVEJOURNAL.COM. BRUCE GOFF PORTRAIT COURTESY ARCHITECTUREWEEK.COM. 86

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