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Friday, March 06, 2015

God Is in the (Dime-Store) Details

I've never been a big fan of Bruce Goff's architecture, but I couldn't resist watching an old BBC documentary on Goff that the AA School of Architecture uploaded to YouTube a couple days ago. One particular project that stands out is the Taylor House in Norman, Oklahoma.

Here is the living room as featured in Life Magazine shortly after its 1947 completion:

[All photos are screenshots from "We Don't Like Your House Either: The Architecture of Bruce Goff" documentary.]

The building was controversial in the area when it was built, but it is certainly a tame building by today's standards (exterior view also from Life):


What stands out about the house is a detail, the diamond-shaped glass inserted into the wood windows:


As well as inserted into the wood doors:


A closer view illustrates the way the light refracts through the glass, as if made from glass blocks:


But the inserts are not glass blocks, they are actually "dime-store ashtrays," as described in the documentary:


With such a cool use of a mundane item, my appreciation of Goff's architecture just went up a notch.

To watch the section of the documentary on the Taylor Residence, click here.

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