Goff, Bruce

Bruce Goff was born in 1904 in Alton, Kansas. He was largely self-educated and displayed a great talent for drawing and became an apprentice at age twelve at a Tulsa architectural firm. He began designing houses and small commercial projects. During this period, his work was heavily influenced through his correspondence with Frank Lloyd Wright who encouraged him to practice architecture instead of enrolling at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Wright felt the formal education would stifle his creativity. In 1934 Goff moved to Chicago and designed several Chicago-area residences. At the outbreak of World War II, Goff enlisted in the U.S. Navy, was assigned to the Naval Construction Branch (Seabee) and designed a number of military structures and residences during his service. He also obtained a teaching position with the School of Architecture at the University of Oklahoma in 1942. Despite being largely self-taught, Goff was named chairman of the school in 1943. In his private practice, Goff built a large number of residences in the American Midwest, developing his singular style of organic architecture – often flamboyant and electric, that was client- and site-specific. Goff died in Tyler, Texas in 1982.