Bavinger House

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Eugene Bavinger House
Bavinger Exterior.JPG
Front of the house
Bavinger House is located in Oklahoma
Bavinger House
Bavinger House is located in USA
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
Demolished 2011
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]

In April 2016 The Norman Transcript reported that the house had been completely demolished, leaving only an "empty clearing", as confirmed by the president of the Bruce Goff-focused preservation organization Friends of Kebyar.[15]


The wall of the house was 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 had no interior walls; instead there were a series of platforms at different heights, some with curtains that could be drawn for privacy. The ground floor was covered with pools and planted areas.[2][16][17][18][19]


  1. ^ National Park Service (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 July 28, 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. ^ Slinkard, Caleb (April 28, 2016). "Goff-designed landmark demolished". The Norman Transcript. Retrieved 2016-04-30. 
  16. ^ 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. 
  17. ^ 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. 
  18. ^ "Bavinger House". Retrieved 2009-08-13. 
  19. ^ "Bavinger House (Norman, USA)". February 24, 2010. Retrieved 2011-11-10. [unreliable source?]

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