In 1987, the Bavinger House, designed by Kansas architect Bruce Goff was awarded the Twenty Five Year Award by the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Nearly 30 years on from receiving the award, Bavinger House, once lauded as a quintessential icon of organic modernist architecture, has been demolished. Originally built in 1955 in Norman, Oklahoma, Goff collaborated with artists Eugene and Nancy Bavinger as well as students from the University of Oklahoma to create a spiraling fan-like building whose core is shielded behind clumps of sandstone. The house's signature 96-foot-long spiral, which curved downwards in logarithmic fashion, mimicked that of a sail unfurling in the wind. Trapped in suspense, Goff showcased the tensile trends that were emerging in architecture at the time, with Frei Otto, a notable ambassador of this technique, earning his doctorate in tensioned constructions only a year prior. Among it's woodland surroundings, Bavinger House was pinned to the ground through a recycled oil field drill stem which was also used to elevate the central mast above 55 feet. With no interior walls, an array of multi-height platforms created space within the house while the ground floor was covered with pools and planting. For the House, Goff told the Chicago Tribune in 1995 that he "wanted to do something that had no beginning and no ending." "This house begins again and again," he continued. "Gertrude Stein talks about the sense of not being in the past, present or future tense, but in the 'continuous present.' I was thinking in those terms." In the decade leading up to 2008, however, reports filtered through of vacancy and the house's deterioration. Writing for the Architectural Review, Michael Webb said in 2005 that the house had "become as choked with vegetation as a lost temple in the jungle. It received the 25-Year Award from the American Institute of Architects in 1987, but today only the 'no trespassing' signs denote its presence—as a creeper-clad spiral of stone that can barely be glimpsed through the trees." After funding to restore the building ran into problems, the Bavinger House suffered more woes with heavy damage being inflicted after a storm in 2011. With the central spire being one of the more notable features in need of repair, the house's official website stated that the building would not be able to reopen. This statement was later amended to "Closed Permanently". That same year, the Oklahoma Office of Historical Preservation received an anonymous phone call from a man threatening to bulldoze the building. Local news station "News 9" suspected this to be Bob Bavinger, the now owner of the house and son of Eugene and Nancy and went to investigate. Upon arrival however, they were welcomed with gunfire. Speaking of the building's fate, the younger Bavinger told the Norman Transcript in 2011 that there was an ongoing conflict with the University of Oklahoma over the home's ownership and restoration. He said that demolition “was the only solution that we had, we got backed into a corner.” Come August 2012 though, the website of Bavinger House issued a statement saying: "The House will never return under its current political situation." Four years further on April 28 2016, Caleb Slinkard in the Norman Transcript reported “all that is left of the Bavinger House is an empty clearing.” For those who never had a chance to visit the building, a video walkthrough is available here courtesy of Skyline Ink.
Posts tagged with "Tensile Structures":
The latest bridge from Spanish tension-element guru Santiago Calatrava, renowned architect behind the Milwaukee Art Museum, Puente del Alamillo, and the upcoming World Trade Center Transportation Hub, will be his first vehicular bridge in the United States. Construction has been completed on the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, the first in a series of Calatrava-designed crossings over Dallas' Trinity River. It will act as a literal and metaphorical gateway to the city. This new bridge links the banks of the Trinity River, with hopes of making the area a lively gathering place. Calatrava wants to rethink the riverfront and its capacity to bring in development as part of the city's urban revitalization efforts. He stated he envisions the Trinity River Corridor as the heart of the city, a recreational area much like New York's Central Park. The bridge is the first step in making the waterfront a focal point for recreation. “During my first visit to Dallas I realized that the river basin had the potential to be of defining importance to the city’s future development,” said Calatrava. The structure is a signature Calatrava design with glowing white arch and supporting suspension cables. Supporting over 14,000 cars per day, the new bridge is part of a larger project involving the replacement of Interstate Highway 30. The Trinity Trust Group, a nonprofit supporting revitalization of the riverfront, will host a series of inaugural events, and Calatrava will be in Dallas this weekend for an opening ceremony complete with fireworks, a Lyle Lovett concert, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony. (Fingers crossed that the architect himself will hoist the giant scissors.) The bridge is planned to open to traffic March 29.
When folks wait in line for the Adler Planetarium’s rehabbed space theater, they won’t be staring at a bland hallway. The new Clark Family Welcome Gallery, designed by Thomas Roszak Architecture, corrals the queue at the theater’s entrance. The goal for its design: “We wanted people to stop thinking about driving and parking, and start thinking about the mysteries of the universe,” says Adler president Paul Knappenberger. Roszak answered with a tensile structure of aluminum tubing covered by elastic polyester fabric—similar to his Burnham Pavilion with Zaha Hadid. The materials work as a projection surface—for educational and interactive digital games—and a backlit skin that signals the movie’s start by glowing in a rainbow of, appropriately, otherworldly colors.