Born in Alton, Kansas, Goff was a child prodigy who apprenticed at the age of twelve to Rush, Endacott and Rush of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Goff became a partner with the firm in 1930. He is credited, along with his high-school art teacher Adah Robinson, with the design of Boston Avenue Methodist Church in Tulsa, one of the finest examples of Art Deco architecture in the United States.
After stints in Chicago and Berkeley, Goff accepted a teaching position with the School of Architecture at the University of Oklahoma in 1942. By 1943, despite a lack of credentials, he was chairman of the school. This was his most productive period. In his private practice, Goff built an impressive number of residences in the American Midwest, developing his singular style of organic architecture that was client- and site-specific.
Goff’s accumulated design portfolio of 500 projects (about one quarter of them built) demonstrates a restless, sped-up evolution through conventional styles and forms at a young age, through the Prairie style of his heroes and correspondents Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan, then out into truly uncharted territory. Finding inspiration in sources as varied as Antoni Gaudi, Balinese music, Claude Debussy, Japanese ukiyo-e prints, and seashells, Goff’s mature work had no precedents and he has few heirs other than his former assistant, the New Mexico architect Bart Prince. Among his contemporaries these were the years of tight functionalistic floorplans, flat roofs, and no ornament; now, even fifty years later, Goff’s idiosyncratic floorplans, his attention to spatial effect, and use of recycled and/or unconventional materials such as gilded zebrawood, cellophane strips, cake pans, glass cullet, Quonset Hut ribs, ashtrays, and white turkey feathers, still have the power to shock and challenge conventional distinctions between order and disorder.
Some notable buildings designed by Goff are the Bavinger House in Norman, Oklahoma, the Ruth VanSickle Ford House in Aurora, Illinois, the Colmorgan House in Glenview, Illinois, and the Pavilion for Japanese Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Regrettably, his most ambitious built work, the Joe D. Price House and Studio in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, was destroyed by arson in 1996. Goff also designed the Searing house in Praire Village, Kansas.
Goff died in Tyler, Texas in 1982. His cremated remains are interred in Graceland Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois, with a marker designed by protegee Bart Prince that incorporates a glass cullet fragment salvaged from the ruins of the Joe D. Price House and Studio.
Article and photo from wikipedia