An Architectural Masterpiece in Norman

Thursday, March 31st 2011, 6:24 pm
By: News 9

Darren Brown,

NORMAN, Oklahoma -- The Bavinger House, built over fifty years ago and designed by the world-renowned architect Bruce Goff, is a place where art and nature combine to form something unique.

Eugene and Nancy Bavinger both worked at OU in the art department as faculty back then. When they were ready to build a home, they called on their friend Bruce Goff.

The home's most striking feature is the spiral wall, made of two hundred tons of native stone, with rose rock and aqua-colored chunks of melted glass throughout. The entire house is anchored to a recycled drill stem pipe in the very center. And the spiral roof, although attached, is supported by the pipe as well with bi-wing airplane strut wires, that are WW I surplus.

And that's just the outside.

Once inside, you see the "bedrooms," are actually carpeted bowls or pods that are suspended from the ceiling at different levels. The bowls are open-air, but curtains can be drawn for privacy. There are no traditional beds, the mattress and box springs are flush with the floor in each bowl.

"Most of the local population thought we were from Mars," laughed Bob Bavinger, who grew up in the house. "It was completely normal to me."

The Bavinger family used to open their home to the public once a year, but quit the practice sometime in the mid-70s when it became overly crowded. Bavinger recalls the day that the crowd swelled to over a thousand.

"They were so packed in the house they couldn't move," said Bavinger. "My dad looked at me on that day and said 'Never again!'"

Eugene and Nancy Bavinger have since passed, but their son Bob is working to keep their dream alive. The dream of opening welcoming the public to their house once again.

And though he hasn't lived here in a long time, Bob said he feels like this house has become a part of him.

The Bavinger House is not only famous in Oklahoma, but it's studied in architecture classes worldwide.

Learn more about the Bavinger House.