Bruce Goff: toward absolute architecture

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Architectural History Foundation, 1988 - Architecture - 388 pages
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Distilled from years of research and friendship, this is the first comprehensive study to capture the essential Goff - the idiosyncratic and profoundly original designs, the erratic yet exuberant career that produced some of the most challenging and inventive architecture of this century.

Bruce Goff spent most of his life (1904-1982) in the American heartland. In the seven decades of his practice he designed nearly 500 projects, of which some 140 were built. Although he loved to flaunt the novel use of found materials (steel pipe, coal, rope, plexiglas aircraft domes, cake pans) and flashy decorative surfaces including white goose feathers and egg crates Goff's central and abiding concern was with the mastery of space.

As David De Long shows in this engaging book, Goff's spatial creativity was unbounded, his diversity seemingly unlimited. De Long discusses the architect's development and early work in Tulsa, the formative influences that shaped his career, his first independent work in Chicago, the periods of working on speculation in Bartlesville and Kansas City, his withdrawal from active practice following charges of homosexuality, and Goffs triumphant resurgence with his design for the Japanese Wing of the Los Angeles County Museum.

De Long devotes an entire chapter to Goff's major projects - the Ledbetter, Ford, Bavinger, and Wilson houses, the Hopewell Baptist Church, and Crystal Cathedral, whose complex geometries, spatial richness, and modified prefabricated elements set them radically apart from the conformity of small town America. The story is a fascinating one, incorporating significant design details with local reactions and sometimes devastating professional criticism.

David G. De Long is Chairman of the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation at the University of Pennsylvania. Bruce Goff: Toward Absolute Architecture, contains a complete catalogue raisonne of buildings and projects; it is included in The Architectural History Foundation's American Monograph Series.

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Contents

Beginnings of a Free Architecture
3
Defining an Independent Expression
53
The Liberation of Genius 1947 1956
87
Copyright

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