Monday, March 28, 2011

Day Five (continued)

More from the architectural tour of the Norman and OKC area:

Herb Greene's "Prairie Chicken". A lot more grown up than in the 50 year-old pics I had seen.

Goff's Corsaw House.

Original drawing.

Houses by Dean Bryant Vollendorf.

From right: Nelson Brackin, Mike Brown, Jerri Bonebrake, Bill Scott.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Oklahoma: Day Five

Sunday morning was the last day of the trip. Today was spend visiting projects by Bruce Goff and a few by others, such as Dean Vollendorf. The pictures say so much, I'm going to post quite a few, broken into a couple of different posts.

The first part of the day we visited the Bavinger House by Goff, and the "Prairie Chicken", by Herb Greene.

Inside with Bob Bavinger, Bill Scott, and Jerry Bonebrake

It was a thrill to visit the Bavinger House, but bittersweet. The house is really in a sore state. The original roof is long gone, replaced by asphalt shingles. The glass has been waterproofed by black roofing tar. The interior ceiling is gone. These are just some of the larger issues. It would take a couple of million dollars to bring this marvel back to where it should be. Unfortunately, that prospect seems remote at this time. The Bavinger (1950) is, in my opinion, one of the most amazing residential structures ever conceived and built. I hope that one day it can regain its former glory.

With Nelson Brackin

Condition of the glass

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

FOK Celebration X/Fred Jones Museum: Day Four

Saturday, October 9th was day four of the activities in Oklahoma. Most of what happened this day was indoors, with various speakers and a discussion and question period. This took place in the music hall across from the Fred Jones Museum.

Featured speakers included: Joe Price, Brian Eyerman, Hans Butzer, Sydney K Robinson, Kay Johnson, Scott Perkins, and Mark White. Later there was a discussion group which included Kebyar's own Bob Bowlby and Donald McDonald.

Late in the afternoon we retired to a local watering hole for some refreshments and to continue getting to know a lot of creative folks, including a number of faculty in the School of Architecture at Oklahoma.

That evening was yet another opening event at the museum. By now I was looking forward to Sunday and seeing some more of these projects in person.

Discussion Group

After the event. Note Bob Bowlby (L) speaking to Herb Greene (in beret).

OU has recognized what they had in the 1950's with Goff. Here I am with the statue of one of their (now) heroes.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Bruce Goff/Celebration X: Day Three

My third day in Oklahoma started out bright and sunny again. Today we headed directly for the Fred Jones Museum of Art on the campus of the University of Oklahoma. All morning there were presentations from different Kebyar folks. These included one on Goff's Riverside Studio in Tulsa from 1928, one from Nelson Brackin, one from Gary McCowan, and one on Dean Vollendorf.

Presentation on the Riverside Studio

There was a box lunch, and then some more presentations and discussions before a lecture by Aaron Betsky. After the lecture there was to be the opening reception, a dinner with the University President, and then Cocktails at the Ledbetter House on campus. The Museum Director, Ghislain d'Humieres, currently lives in the house. Ghislain was ever the gracious host to everyone.

Box Lunch

Talking with Howard Alan

I skipped the lecture. I was pretty tired out from being up late the night before, so Bill Scott and I went back to the hotel for a nap.

We came back for the opening reception. The place was packed, and the final touches had been put on the Goff exhibits. The videos were extraordinary.

The dinner was nice, but the highlight was the Ledbetter House (1947). The house is in almost pristine condition, being the property of the university. I say "almost" because of something Nelson and I discovered two days later. More to follow on that. We were able to enjoy the house at our leisure that evening, which is not a very common situation in such an iconic piece of architecture. It was a great close to a day packed solid with organic architecture.

The Ledbetter House

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

FOK Celebration X/Fred Jones Museum: Day Two

The second day in Oklahoma was a beautiful sunny day with pleasant temperatures. Really, the weather the whole week was great. Before breakfast an architect from India used Skype to talk to Nelson. He would be giving a presentation at the Dinner that evening via Skype as well.

Nelson (on right) and myself

After breakfast we ran a few errands with Nelson, including a stop-off at the Fred Jones Museum, where we got a little preview of the exhibit. It looked very interesting, with video renderings created of a number of Goff buildings that were either never built, or that have been destroyed.

Later in the morning, we made our way to Goff's Pollock House. This was my first visit to a Goff house since seeing the Ford House outside Chicago in 1990. Photos do not do it justice. I was much more impressed in person. The Pollock house is not an expensive house, but it is a finely detailed house, with special attention given to the small things. Very organic in nature. It is currently owned by Laura Warriner and her husband. They have done a lot to improve and maintain the house and the grounds. I found them very friendly and hospitable. They graciously allowed the FOK board to meet in their living room.

The board meeting took place at 2:00pm, and a reception followed. Later in the afternoon, I helped Laura prepare for the Dinner at her Gallery. The dinner was delicious, and did include the Skype presentation on the work of Nari Gandhi from India. Day three is next.

The Warriners with Robert Bowlby

Monday, January 31, 2011

Ultimate Organic

In October, I was privileged to attend two events in Oklahoma involving Bruce Goff and Organic Architecture. The main event was an exhibit at the Fred Jones Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma, ( Bruce Goff: A Creative Mind ( The second event was the gathering and board meeting for the Friends of Kebyar, of which I am Secretary and Subscriptions Manager (See the link to the right). This gathering is known as Celebration X.

I had not been able to travel to any of the Kebyar events since 1999, so this was a real treat for me. I would also have the chance to catch up with some old friends and meet some new ones, including many architects that I admire greatly.

I flew out on October 6 and was met at the airport in Oklahoma City by my old friend Nelson Brackin (President, FOK), and Bill Scott. We ran errands for a few hours and then stopped by the home of Gary McCowan, who is the subject of the latest FOK Journal.

We spend a couple of hours talking and met Gary's wife, Elizabeth. These are two extremely nice people. I liked them immediately.

After that we stopped off for dinner and then went back to the hotel to rest for the next day's events.

Coming next: Goff's Pollock House, The Museum, The Board Meeting, Reception and Dinner.