Bavinger House

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Eugene Bavinger House
Bavinger Exterior.JPG
Front of the house
Bavinger House is located in Oklahoma
Bavinger House
Location 730 60th Ave., NE, Norman, Oklahoma
Coordinates 35°13′40″N 97°21′10″W / 35.22778°N 97.35278°W / 35.22778; -97.35278Coordinates: 35°13′40″N 97°21′10″W / 35.22778°N 97.35278°W / 35.22778; -97.35278
Built 1950
Architect Goff, Bruce
Architectural style Organic
MPS Bruce Goff Designed Resources in Oklahoma MPS
NRHP Reference # 01001354[1]
Added to NRHP December 13, 2001

The Bavinger House was completed in 1955 in Norman, Oklahoma, United States. It was designed by architect Bruce Goff. Considered a significant example of organic architecture,[2][3] the house was awarded the Twenty-five Year Award from the American Institute of Architects in 1987.[4]


The house was built over the course of five years by Nancy and Eugene Bavinger, the residents of the house, who were artists, along with the help of a few of Eugene's art students, volunteers, and local businesses.

The Bavingers moved into the house in February 1955, and Life magazine featured the house in its September 19, 1955 issue.[5] Despite its remote location, the house became an attraction; the Bavingers first tried to limit visitors by charging a dollar per guest. Life reported that the tours had yielded over $4,000, and eventually (according to Goff) they raised over $50,000 before finally deciding they didn't want to be disturbed by the constant flow of guests.[6]

The house later deteriorated and was vacant for more than a decade before it was reported in 2008 that the house would be renovated and reopened for tours.[7] According to press reports, fundraising efforts ran into difficulties.[8][9] In June 2011, after a windstorm in the area, it was reported that the house had been severely damaged, with its central spire broken at a 45-degree angle.[8][10] The official website for the house stated that the house "will not be able to re-open",[9][11][12][13] which was later changed to "Closed Permanently" and in August 2012 stated "The House will never return under its current political situation". The official site no longer exists.[14]


The wall of the house is a 96-foot long logarithmically curved spiral, made from 200 tons of local "ironrock" sandstone dynamited (by Eugene) from a piece of purchased farmland near Robin Hill School, a few miles away from the house and hauled back on Eugene's 48 Chevy flatbed truck. The structure was anchored by a recycled oil field drill stem that was reused to make a central mast more than 55 feet high. The house has no interior walls; instead there are a series of platforms at different heights, some with curtains that can be drawn for privacy. The ground floor is covered with pools and planted areas.[2][15][16][17][18]


  1. ^ Staff (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b Form prepared by Arn Henderson. National Register of Historic Places nomination form for Resources Designed by Bruce Goff in Oklahoma. Accessed May 6, 2015.
  3. ^ Philip, Steadman (1979). The Evolution of Designs: Biological Analogy in Architecture and the Applied Arts. Taylor & Francis. p. 239. ISBN 978-0-415-44752-2.  Excerpts available at Google Books.
  4. ^ Webb, Michael (June 2005). "Saving Bruce Goff". The Architectural Review. Retrieved October 9, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Space and Saucer House: Oklahoma family lives in suspension in a unique new structure". LIFE. September 19, 1955. pp. 155–156. 
  6. ^ Philip Welch, Goff on Goff: Conversations and Lectures (University of Oklahoma Press, 1996), ISBN 978-0-8061-2868-9), pp.193–94. Excerpts available at Google Books.
  7. ^ "Foundation hopes to restore and open Bavinger House for tours". The Norman Transcript. November 23, 2008. Retrieved 2009-08-13. 
  8. ^ a b "Tearin' Down the House?". Oklahoma Gazette. June 29, 2011. Retrieved September 3, 2001. 
  9. ^ a b Cobb, Russell (November 21, 2011). "Continuous Present". This Land. Retrieved 2013-02-25. 
  10. ^ "Gunfire Greets News 9 Crew at Norman's Bavinger House". KWTV. June 21, 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-23. 
  11. ^ Rieger, Andy (June 22, 2011). "Bavinger House’s future uncertain". The Norman Transcript. Retrieved 2011-06-23. 
  12. ^ Mize, Richard (June 23, 2011). "Bruce Goff-designed Bavinger House in Norman apparently has met its demise". The Oklahoman. Retrieved 2011-06-23. 
  13. ^ "The Bavinger House official website". Archived from the original on 28 July 2011. Retrieved 2013-02-25. Closed due to storm damage . . . Due to severe storm damage we will not be able to re-open 
  14. ^ Bavinger House official website. Retrieved 2012-08-21. Archived July 28, 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ Barry, Edward (January 6, 1957). "It's SOMEBODY'S Dream House: Oklahoma Couple Are Happy in a Home Which Is Like Nothing on Land or Sea FAMILY Living". Chicago Tribune. p. H23. Retrieved 2009-08-13. 
  16. ^ Lobban, Lynette (Spring 2002). "Goff's Historic Houses: The talk of the town when first constructed, the signature works of a master architect are being added to the National Register.". Sooner Magazine. Archived from the original on May 23, 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-23. 
  17. ^ "Bavinger House". Retrieved 2009-08-13. 
  18. ^ "Bavinger House (Norman, USA)". February 24, 2010. Retrieved 2011-11-10. [unreliable source?]

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