Ransom Canyon, near Lubbock in the South Plains, is home to a structure that will certainly capture your attention. Tucked in windswept suburbia is an enormous beast, rusted deep brown and perched on four legs, with incredible lake views. This is Robert Bruno’s Steel House, the masterpiece of an artist whose work on it began in 1973. He left it incomplete upon his death 35 years later. Another eye-catching home nearby called the Flintstone House, further intrigues those who come to see the lifelong work of Robert Bruno.
Also known as the “Metal Mansion,” Bruno’s architectural marvel is three levels and 2,200 square feet. Comprised of 150 tons of sienna steel on the outside, Bruno alone lived here and welded each section by hand. The interior is made of wood and stained glass. As the work was not completed, large holes yawn open in various areas of the house. If Bruno had been able to continue his work, a pool, an aquarium, and the moldings of nude models would also be a part of the Steel House. Ultimately, the house was a hobby and whims could dictate which sections of work stayed and which were scrapped.
Robert R. Bruno Jr. was born in Los Angeles in 1945, and he grew up in both Mexico and the United States. After college, then graduate school, Bruno relocated to Lubbock to teach art at the Texas Tech University School of Architecture in 1971. In a video about the house filmed before his death, Bruno clarified the Steel House was more art installation than home. Visitors today may tour the house, and videos are also available online from those who have previously visited the site.
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