The Garvey House

This residential building was built by Bruce Alonzo Goff in Urbana, IL, and was completed in 1955.

The Garvey House that exists now was actually a redesign of the Garvey House No.1, which was more complex. Since the first design was considered too wild by the house owner and hardly could come close to realization, Goff chose to redesign the building.

Negotiations for the first design had extended over time, and the second scheme for the Garvey House was not designed until 1954. Construction began in September of that year, and was completed in 1955. The house was simpler than the first one. A tightly organized plan contained over 2600 square feet, and according to local reports, it cost around $20,000.

The Garvey House was designed for John Garvey. He was a violinist and taught at the University of Illinois, Urbana. He met Goff in Norman, while on tour with the Walden String Quartet. He owned a lot in Urbana and commissioned Goff to design his house. Mrs. Garvey was also a musician, and they wanted a house where they could practice without disturbing each other or their children.

The Garvey House is a residential house. The music room is placed beneath a central skylight. This room is recessed several steps below entrance level, and is separated from the outer perimeter by a continuous row of columns. The bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, and dining area are all placed within the outer perimeter of the round house, divided from each other by freestanding storage units and from the central space by accordion doors. The house was also designed as a partly public space. The floor to ceiling windows across the front of the main living room were intended to make the space more open for the concerts Garvey would host in the house. The rooms around the living room are closed off to create a more private space within the public environment of the house.

Bruce Alonzo Goff was an American architect who was famous for his organic, eclectic, and often flamboyant designs for buildings in Oklahoma and elsewhere.

His Bavinger House was awarded the Twenty-five Year Award from the American Institute of Architects in 1987 and Boston Avenue Methodist Church was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1999.

• 1926: Boston Avenue Methodist Church, Tulsa, Oklahoma
• 1938: Turzak House, Chicago, Illinois
• 1947: Ledbetter House, Norman, Oklahoma
• 1950: Bavinger House, Norman, Oklahoma
• 1955: John Frank House, Sapulpa, Oklahoma
• 1978: Pavilion for Japanese Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California