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Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Steel House, Ransom Canyon, TX, USA

View Of Ransom Canyon Lake From The Steel House, TX, USA
Architect and sculptor, or as he describes himself on his website "Architectural sculptor and artist", Robert Bruno created the "Steel House" over the course of many years. Part residence part sculpture the "Steel House" is located overlooking Ransom Canyon Lake in the city of Ransom Canyon around 15 miles east of Lubbock, TX. Bruno started the project in 1973 after taking a teaching job at Texas Tech and moving from Mexico to Lubbock. Over the years the structure grew and morphed and became so much more ...


85 East Canyon View Drive, Ransom Canyon, TX, USA [Approximate]

33°32'13.57"N 101°40'37.54"W

... than the originally envisioned single story residence. The construction was all undertaken by Bruno himself. No architects, though of course he is one, no builders, no welders no nobody; just himself toiling over the years in the harsh Texas climate. The design was a fluid concept; unlike most construction projects which have a distinct design phase and then a building phase where the "fixed" design is brought to life the "Metal House" was in design for all of its 35 years of construction. If you like it grew, under the ever present watchful eye of its creator, rather than "was built".

The Steel House, TX, USA Alternate Exterior ViewThough crafted mainly in metal the building, with its flowing lines rather than a typical angular construction, also includes stained glass creations and other manifestations of Bruno's creative muse. The residence can really not be put into any defined architectural class though you could argue that if mankind ever masters travel to the stars he might well see a city somewhere around Alpha Centauri filled with Bruce like buildings.

At the time of his passing in 2008 Bruno had only very recently moved into the "Steel House" or, as it is often known locally the "Metal Mansion", which had been some 35 years in the making; a testament to the determination, commitment and passion the man felt for his labor of love. Asked about the move and its timing Bruno was reputed to have responded that it was simply that his lease was up on his previous residence and nothing to do with reaching a particular point in construction.

The book "Weird Texas: Your Travel Guide to Texas's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets" by Wesley Treat, Heather Shades and Rob Riggs contains a section on Robert Bruno's creation and an excerpt from page 153 of the book can be found on Google Books.

There is much more to tell about the "Steel House" but it seems somehow more fitting to let the man himself do the telling so check out the video of Bruce talking about his masterpiece on the "Video" tab below.

The Steel House, Ransom Canyon, TX, USAClick For Image Source

The Steel House Exterior 1

The Steel House Exterior 2

The Steel House Exterior 3

The Steel House Exterior 4

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The Steel House Interior 1

The Steel House Interior 2

The Steel House Interior 3

The Steel House Interior 4

The Steel House Interior 5

The Steel House Interior 6

The Steel House Interior 7

The Steel House Interior 8

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  1. WhenI was an architecture student in Lubbock back in 92, i used to go out and talk to this guy at this house. He was just interesting to talk to. I always wondered what became of it. I'm glad he finished it before he died. It really is a masterpiece, one of a kind, experiment.

  2. It sure is a one of a kind - interesting to hear your history with it - thanks

  3. Got to See it Morph for almost ten years - 89' to 99' -- and without a doubt was one of the most intriguing sights in Lubbock and Ransom Canyon -- Residents of RC, absolutely despised it (some thought it was great)... But the best part of the whole sculpture was how gracious and laid back Mr. Bruno was and how he would with each and every visitor and passerby stop and answer questions about this Metal Mansion and would give a tour of the inside if asked... What a great individual and what a great piece of work (35 yrs in the making) to become an landmark of West Texas!!! Thanks Robert Bruno - and rest in peace -- u deserve it!!! - TroggIII

  4. One of the most interesting things about this house was watching Bruno do the work. He makes it sound so simple in his own "matter of fact" explanation of the effort involved in creation, but to observe his "hands on" construction techniques was absolutely fascinating. We never spoke...it seemed as though talking with him was counter-productive. This house speaks for itself, and will continue to speak for the builder, for many generations to come. Witnessing the construction, I got the feeling that I was watching the creation of a Swiss watch from the ground up, using extremely heavy parts.

    Not only is this structure unique, so was the man who created it. We may never see the likes of Robert Bruno again...and we are diminished by his absence.

  5. Visited this structure many times when I was a student at Tech - way before it had windows - back in the mid to late 80s. It was such a peaceful place to sit and ponder things with the lake below and the vastness that is the High Plains spread out before you. All accompanied by the never-ending West Texas winds. Miss those days.

  6. Had Bob Bruno as a freshman design student in the mid 80's and sat out there and talked to him numerous times. Spent many a time wandering around and through the Steel House and his other house across the street that is covered with stone and mosaics and spirals up to a point. A nice bookend to seeing this house is to go to the Texas Tech campus and see his sculpture that was the inspiration for the Steel House. It has recently been installed at 18th St. and Flint Ave in front of the Architecture Building. There are on-goings efforts to get the Steel House on the National register of Historic Places.