Bruce Goff, 1904- 1982
Bruce Alonzo Goff 1904 – 1982
Goff is unique in the realms of Organic Architectute for his eclectic and often fantastical designs for houses and other buildings. Born in Alton, Kansas, Goff apprenticed at the age of twelve with Rush, Endacott and Rush of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Goff became a partner with the firm in 1930. He is credited, along with his high-school art teacher Adah Robinson, with the design of Boston Avenue Methodist Church in Tulsa, one of the finest examples of Art Deco architecture in the United States.
After stints in Chicago and Berkeley, Goff accepted a teaching position with the School of Architecture at the University of Oklahoma in 1942 and by 1943, he was chairman of the school. This was his most productive period. In his private practice, Goff built an impressive number of residences in the American Midwest, developing his singular style of organic architecture that was client- and site-specific.
Goff's accumulated design portfolio of 500 projects demonstrates early adeptness in design inspired by his mentors and gurus that included Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright until he solidly found his own voice firmly rooted in the philosophy of Organic Architecture. Finding inspiration in sources as varied as Antoni Gaudi, Balinese music, Claude Debussy, Japanese ukiyo-e prints, and seashells, Goff's later work had no precedent and he has few heirs other than his former assistant, New Mexico architect Bart Prince, and former student, Herb Greene. Goff's idiosyncratic floorplans, attention to spatial effect, and use of
recycled and/or unconventional materials such as gilded zebrawood, cellophane strips, cake pans, glass cullet, Quonset Hut ribs, ashtrays, and white turkey feathers, challenge conventional distinctions between order and disorder and found and cultivated building materials.