The American School
September 2018 Newsletter
Dear friends,
This fall, the Christopher C. Gibbs College of Architecture celebrates the opening of The American School exhibition, "Renegades: Bruce Goff and the American School of Architecture." In collaboration with OU Libraries and Skyline Ink, this stunning exhibition displays pieces from The American School Archive, as well as digitally animated tours of Goff-designed environments. Join us on Saturday, Sept. 22, for the opening and a public tour between 3-5 p.m. on the main floor of Bizzell Memorial Library. Read on for more info.

In other exciting news, Goff will be featured in the Sunday, Sept. 16, print edition of the New York Times Style Magazine. The article by Amanda Fortini, entitled "The Man Who Made Wildly Imaginative, Gloriously Disobedient Buildings," includes detailed descriptions of his designs, interviews with residents of Goff homes, and beautiful photography. You may access the early online version here.
Thank you for your continued interest in The American School project at the OU. We look forward to providing you with more exciting updates soon.

Kind regards,
Stephanie Pilat
Director, Division of Architecture
Christopher C. Gibbs College of Architecture
The University of Oklahoma
Save the Date: "Renegades at Bizzell" Opens Sept. 22
Bizzell Library, Main Level Exhibition Space
Sept. 22, 2018 - July 29, 2019
NORMAN - "A new school, probably the only indigenous one in the United States" is how the architect Donald MacDonald described Bruce Goff and Herb Greene's influence on the University of Oklahoma School of Architecture from 1947 through the 1960s. The famous architects transformed the ways architecture was learned, taught and practiced, creating a uniquely American architectural style now represented in an archive at the University of Oklahoma Libraries and displayed in an exhibition in Bizzell Memorial Library.
"Renegades: Bruce Goff and the American School of Architecture at Bizzell" features selections from the American School Archive, including drawings and virtual tours of three residences designed by Bruce Goff, rendered by Skyline Ink of Oklahoma City. The exhibition opens Saturday, Sept. 22, with a public tour available between 3-5 p.m. on the main floor of Bizzell Memorial Library.

"The Renegades exhibition at Bizzell will give the public a first peek at the fantastic and experimental work of our American School alumni," said Stephanie Pilat, director of the Division of Architecture in OU's Christopher C. Gibbs College of Architecture. "The exhibition will illustrate why the OU School of Architecture has long been known as one of the most original and innovative design schools in the world."

Under the leadership of Goff, Greene, Mendel Glickman and many others, OU architecture faculty led a pedagogical shift beginning with Goff's arrival on campus in 1947. These professors developed a curriculum that emphasized individual creativity, organic forms and experimentation. This radical approach to design drew students to Oklahoma from as far away as Japan and South America and later spread the American School influence to professional practices in California, Hawaii, Greece and beyond.

"The astonishing drawings included in the exhibition highlight how Bruce Goff promoted creative freedom and the extraordinary skills developed by the students under a new pedagogy," said Luca Guido, visiting associate professor in the Gibbs College of Architecture and curator of the exhibition.

The American School Archive includes items from Frank Lloyd Wright, Fred David Shellabarger, Albert Yanda, Arn Henderson, Donald McDonald, John Hurtig, Norman Froelich and Jim Gardner. It also includes student drawings and slides, with new donations still arriving.

"While Goff challenged his students with the phrase 'do not try to remember', archives are sites of memory," said Bridget Burke, OU Libraries associate dean for special collections. "It is a gateway into the creative process and practices of architecture in post-war era America. Building the American School Archive is an act of recovery; the documents and drawings created by OU architecture faculty and students are scattered across campus and in the offices and homes of alumni."

The exhibition also explores the role of archives and documentation as historical evidence. An example is the Barby House, built by Goff for Celestine Barby in Tucson, Arizona. The archive includes letters between Goff and Barby about costs, material and design decisions. 

"Buildings are made of materials that last, but architectural records, drawings, plans, glass slides and models are fragile with specific preservation needs," said Burke. "Architectural records appear in vastly different settings with vastly different purposes, including as building records, as documents of artistic process, as records of built environments and as the records of regulatory history. These records serve many constituents, from scholars, practicing architects and builders, people doing historic preservation and even legal and regulatory interests. For projects that were never built, they are evidence of what might have been."

Learn more about the exhibition at The exhibition will be on display in Bizzell Memorial Library through July 29, 2019.

Above: "Atomic Power Station." John Casper. The American School Archive. OU Libraries Western History Collection.
Renegades at Bizzell: Sneak Peek
The "Renegades at Bizzell" exhibition features many incredible drawings by The American School students spanning the 1940s to 1960s. Exhibition curator and visiting associate professor Luca Guido describes the "Atomic Power Station" drawing by John Casper, shown above:

Fascinated by the atomic era, Casper developed a proposal probably intended for the Arch 273 course. The design highlighted the contrast between spherical architectural elements and rectilinear volumes assembled together. Moreover, the proposal shows the contrast between the building and site: the project looks like an imaginary animal lost in an inhospitable desert.

Visit Bizzell Library on the OU campus between Sept. 22, 2018, and July 29, 2019, to view this and other stunning pieces of The American School Archive on display.
The American School: Archive Update
Members of The American School team unbox items from the Harvey Ferrero collection.
Ferrero Donates Collection

Noted Michigan architect Harvey  Ferrero, a former Goff associate, recently donated dozens of prints and original drawings spanning his career. These stunning items will become part of The American School archive in the University of Oklahoma Libraries' Western History Collection. Thank you, Harvey, for your generous donation!

If you are considering a donation to The American School archive, please contact Erik Baker (
Please contact Erik Baker if you would like to support the American School Project.
American School Project Supporters
OU Division of Architecture Professional Advisory Board
The American School project is led by the Christopher C. Gibbs College of Architecture at the University of Oklahoma.