Memories Of Shin'enKan
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This week we've been remembering the loss of Bruce Goff's masterpiece for client Joe D. Price, Shin'enKan (1956, 1966, 1974), which was destroyed by arson in 1996. As mentioned in an earlier post this week, the property the house once stood on is being prepped to make way for a new house, thus completely erasing the remenants of this once stunning home. Nelson Brackin, President of the Friends of Kebyar group was kind enough to...
This week we've been remembering the loss of Bruce Goff's masterpiece for client Joe D. Price, Shin'enKan (1956, 1966, 1974), which was destroyed by arson in 1996. As mentioned in an earlier post this week, the property the house once stood on is being prepped to make way for a new house, thus completely erasing the remenants of this once stunning home.
"[Shin'enKan was] a great loss. I worked on the windows that wrapped the spiral stair that went up to Joe's studio space. I also helped on the windows that were to either end of that space. I was up in the room the morning of the first sunrise after the windows were installed. Then later, I was back again with Goff as the studio space was being finished with another apprentice who was there at the time. I remember we had some extra pieces of the ornament mirrors and glass pieces that were within the windows. We gave those to Joe's daughter to share with her father.
One of the decorative portions of the glass work that Goff wanted was to have a broken glass re-assembled to add lineal expression to the pattern and texture. To do this was a time consuming job, requiring great patience and dexterity. We would wrap the glass to be broken within a sheet, take it out onto the broken tile walk at the rear of the house, and break the glass. We learned which sections of the walk would give different break patterns to the glass, so if Goff wanted long slender shards, we knew the spot to break the glass and how to do it. Or if radial patterns were needed, we could do that as well.
After we broke it, we placed a board beneath the glass to carry it back into the studio. There it was unwrapped carefully, then broken pieces were picked up and set into a bed of adhesive. Great care had to be taken to not cut your finger tips. There was one instance that I was not as careful as I should have been, and I got a good prick on the finger and offered some red accents to the design work of the day. It was an accent clearly evident to anyone who looked at the design in detail.
I remember sitting in the gallery space with Goff enjoying the presentation of several screens that Joe Price was sharing with a small group of visiting Japanese scholars. There was also the evening sharing dinner and listening to the stories and conversation of Joe Price and Bruce Goff.
One evening Carolyn Price invited us for dinner to her house. Goff and I went, I think also Joe Price. The change of light in the Wright space was something I remember, and seeing the play of the last rays of light as the sun set off of the golden roof of Shin'enKan is another special memory I cherish.
In 2004 Carolyn Price opened her home that Wright had designed for FOK to visit as part of the Bruce Goff Centennial Celebration. She shared her eye witness account of watching the arsonist ignite the blaze that destroyed Shin'enKan. The accelerant was reported to be jet fuel. She said that she could clearly see the outline of a man running in the horrible glow of the growing fire as it engulfed Shin'enKan.
The images I've sent include a copy of one of Goff's design drawings for the windows, a photograph of Goff in the gallery from one of the visits I made with him to Shin'enKan, and a scanned image of the headline from the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise that was sent to me after the fire."
Thanks for sharing Nelson—it underscores what we've lost and what now only exists as fragments, photos, and memories. If anyone else has images or their own Shin'enKan stories, please send them to me so I can continue to share with everyone.
first images via kcmodern.blogspot.com/2008_12_21_archive.html/all the rest courtesy Nelson Brackin