Bavinger House

Norman, Oklahoma, USA

Demolished 2016

The Disappointed Tourist: Bavinger House, Ellen Harvey, 2021. Oil and acrylic on Gessoboard, 18 x 24″ (46 x 61 cm). Photograph: Etienne Frossard.

The Bavinger House was designed by architect Bruce Goff and constructed over the course of five years by its eventual owners, artists Nancy and Eugene Bavinger. Upon its completion in 1955, the house was featured in Life Magazine, leading to an influx of curious tourists. The wall of the house was a 96-foot long logarithmically curved spiral, made from 200 tons of local rock, anchored by a recycled oil field drill stem that was reused to make a central mast more than 55 feet high. The house had no interior walls. It was considered an important example of “organic architecture” and in 1987 was awarded the Twenty-five Year Award by the American Institute of Architects. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2001. The house fell into disrepair and despite efforts to save it, the owner Bob Bavinger (son of Nancy and Eugene) demolished the house in 2016. The painting is based on an open-source photograph found on Wikipedia.

I’m still so sad and angry about the Bruce Goff house. Daniel A.