PaperCity Magazine

December 2018- Dallas

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As we approached the hidden entrance, which is achieved by walking around the structure, Ed and I agreed that this was the most amazing work of residential architecture we had ever encountered — and we were yet to go inside! The interior of the house was like being in a dream. Totally unexpected. The truly original thing was that there were no conventional rooms. The spiraling three-story space was totally open with pods in place of rooms, suspended from the central mast. The pods were shaped like shallow bowls with soft plush carpeting completely covering them. There was no furniture or beds; one simply sat against the side of the bowl and used a bed roll for sleeping. Each pod had a circular closet, and for privacy, there was a circular curtain around the pod. For safety, there was fabric netting. My favorite story about the house, which Mr. Goff told me on one of my visits, was how it was built and financed. Eugene and Nancy Bavinger, who both taught art at OU, hand-built the house. As the structure began to rise from the ground, there were floods of visitors who were interested in what was going on. The curiosity seekers interrupted the construction so much with their myriad of questions that Eugene built a fence around the site, and Nancy sat at the gate and charged each visitor 50 cents to enter. This fee completely paid for the house! Epilogue At the end of my first weekend with Mr. Goff, Easter 1979, I thanked him and told him that I would use some of his thoughts for my upcoming Frank Lloyd Wright radio program. I also told him that I would like to return and discuss a radio documentary just about him. He told me I was welcome anytime, so I made several more visits between 1980 and 1981, recording some of our talks, but mostly listening to his stories — he never repeated a single anecdote in all the hours I spent with him. He was, simply, a wizard. Unfortunately, Mr. Goff passed away August 4, 1982 before I could complete that project. Although I never worked with Mr. Goff, I call him my mentor because he is the only creative person who completely shared his mind with me during several weekends of all-day discussions about his life, the visual and performing arts, and architecture. His philosophy of the creative process and what makes something artistic has remained with me throughout my life. The following are his own words, transcribed from our recorded conversations (published posthumously in Cite, Spring 1983). Robert Morris: Who were the most influential people in your life? Bruce Goff: The composer Claude Debussy. I learned more from him than any other creative person. I have managed to find some of his writings and have embraced many of his ideas as my own. Another man who helped me a great deal in all this was the artist Erté. I use to buy Harper's Bazaar magazine — not because I was interested in clothes or fashion, but because of the beautiful covers he designed. They were knockouts! In one of Erté's articles in the magazine, he stated that he was against the mode, meaning fashion, because clothing should express the nature of the individual; clothing should not be a matter of fashion. I felt the same. Erté asked me, on the occasion of our meeting in 1980, if I had been accused of being Art Deco. I replied, "Yes, I suppose you have been too." He said it was true, and that it astonished him. Robert Morris is a registered architect and registered interior designer with a master's degree in space architecture. He taught from 1999 to 2010 at the University of Houston's Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture. The author's Q&A with Bruce Goff continues online at

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