Robert Bruno’s unfinished masterpiece

Robert Bruno’s Metal Mansion  |  Ransom Canyon, TX

On-going sculpture/home since 1973

(On April 12 of 2008, I had a great afternoon at the home of Robert Bruno.  This is an excerpt from my blog that day. Robert passed away from complications of cancer a few months later on Dec. 9, 2008.)

Robert Bruno's Metal Mansion in Ransom Canyon, TX


I headed to Ransom Canyon to meet the Rare Visions (RVRR) guys and renowned sculptor/architect Robert Bruno for lunch.  After the guys headed on to more Texan attractions, I headed to Robert’s home known as the Metal Mansion.  Woah.  Another one of those “there it is!” moments.
Robert began his sculptural home in 1973, with a very fluid and organic plan.  Trained as a sculpture, he moved to Lubbock from Mexico to teach at Texas Tech.  A bit dismayed by the flat local landscape, he soon discovered an anomaly at Ransom Canyon. Even as you near the canyon, you can’t truly see it, as it is carved into the flat landscape.  But here you will find a vista with more drama, while keeping all of the incredible vast Texan sky.  This proved to be a perfect setting for his home.
Over the years, the look and structure of Robert’s home has changed dramatically.  Originally intended to be 1 story,  he kept adding on, carving away, adjusting walls, etc.  All of the walls in the home are either welded metal, or original glass/stained glass creations.  All designed to optimize light and his visual experience.  Walls were removed to increase visual vistas, stained glass added to create contrast to the rusted metal (with a subtle nod to his love of catholic iconography and visual language, as well as the old churches of Mexico).  Not limited to expressions in glass and metal, Robert also created a beautiful wooden entry table of fluid lines and delicate grace.  And he does it all himself, setting this home apart from a typical architectural project with other draftsmen and craftsmen contributing.  (Unlike another famed architect known for his fluid organic style.
After 35 years of  work, he just moved into his masterpiece last month.  When asked what was the tipping point for the move (thinking it was something structural, mechanical, etc.)  he simply said the his lease was up at his old place.

I spent a way-too-short-few hours visiting with Robert, a most gracious host and kind, creative soul.

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(Photos © copyright 2006-2013 Kelly Ludwig, all rights reserved)