Wednesday, 24 January 2007

"Too dangerous for the neighbourhood"

Here's a charming story about a client's adventures building a house designed by Bruce Goff. My favourite part is when his builders get hauled off to the police station at the behest of a developer who declared our writer's house "too dangerous for the neighbourhood."
The only contractor bold enough to bid on the new house was an old friend, Mike Rothstein, who was building the other two Goff houses. Without Mike, these three houses might never have been built. His carpenters took pride in working on and dreaming about a house they could actually afford...

After work I would go by the house to talk with Mike and Goff about the next day’s work schedule. But something happened one day that finally put a face on who was trying to stop us: a developer I named Ellsworth Toohey after the heavy from The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand’s tribute to Frank Lloyd Wright. I had gone by the site after work as usual, but something was different this time ... where were all the carpenters? I never saw Mike so mad or Goff so perplexed. Mike told me the carpenters were being held at the police station for resisting a court order to stop construction and he left to meet with union officials to get his crew released. Goff just shook his head in disbelief and told me the developer got a court order to halt construction because we didn’t get the developer’s permission on the design.

So, early the next morning...
Read on to see how things worked out.

LINK: Bruce Goff, Frank Lloyd Wright, and a tale of two houses - Paul Searing

RELATED: Architecture, Building


  1. Crickey, looks like a union pulled through.

  2. The interesting thing for me is that the design changed from a FLW Usonian type plan to a modernist box simply because the new site wasn't flat!

    Somewhat of a volte-face, but as mentioned at the start, the bloke was a fan of the modernist style.



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