Frank Owen Gehry CC
(born Ephraim Owen Goldberg
, February 28
) is a Pritzker Prize
based in Los Angeles.
His buildings, including his private residence, have become tourist attractions. Many museums, companies, and cities seek Gehry's services as a badge of distinction, beyond the product he delivers.
His best-known works include the titanium-covered Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles, Experience Music Project in Seattle, Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis, Dancing House in Prague, Czech Republic, and his private residence in Santa Monica, California, which jump-started his career, lifting it from the status of "paper architecture," a phenomenon that many famous architects have experienced in their formative decades through experimentation almost exclusively on paper before receiving their first major commission in later years.
Gehry was born into a Jewish
family in Toronto, Ontario
. A creative child, he was encouraged by his grandmother, Caplan, with whom he would build little cities out of scraps of wood.
In 1947 Gehry moved to California, got a job driving a delivery truck, and studied at Los Angeles City College, eventually to graduate from the University of Southern California's School of Architecture.
After graduation from USC in 1954, he spent time away from the field of architecture in numerous other jobs, including service in the United States Army. He studied city planning at the Harvard Graduate School of Design for a year, leaving before completing the program.
Still known as Frank Goldberg, he married Anita Snyder, who he claims was the one who told him to change his name, which he did, to Frank Gehry. Having divorced Snyder in the mid-1960s, he married Berta, his current wife, in the mid-1970s. He has two daughters from his first marriage, and two sons from his second marriage.
Having grown up in Canada, Gehry is a huge fan of hockey. He began a hockey league in his office, though he no longer plays with them. In 2004, he designed the trophy for the World Cup of Hockey.
He saw the psychoanalyst Milton Wexler and allowed Wexler to give comments to the press about him. (Wexler died in 2007.)
Gehry holds dual citizenship in the United States and Canada. He lives in Santa Monica, California, and continues to practice out of Los Angeles.
The warped forms of Frank Gehry's structures are classified sometimes as being of the deconstructivist, or "DeCon" school of postmodernist architecture, whether or not he consciously holds such inclinations. Gehry himself disavows any association with the movement and claims no formal alliance to any particular architectural movement.
The DeCon movement stems from a series of discussions between French philosopher Jacques Derrida and architect Peter Eisenman in which they question the utility of commonly-accepted notions of structure alone in being able to define and communicate a meaning or truth about a creator's intended definition (a definition of space in architecture, for example), and counterposes our preconceived notions of structure with its undoing; the deconstruction of that very same preconception of space and structure. It is in this criticism or deconstruction of a given construct, in this case, a structure, that architecture finds its justification or its "place of presence."
In that sense, DeCon is often referred to as post-structuralist in nature for its ability to go beyond current modalities of structural definition. In architecture, its application tends to depart from modernism in its inherent criticism of culturally inherited givens such as societal goals and functional necessity. Because of this, unlike early modernist structures, DeCon structures are not required to reflect specific social or universal ideas, such as speed or universality of form, and they do not reflect a belief that form follows function. Gehry's own Santa Monica residence is a commonly cited example of deconstructivist architecture, as it was so drastically divorced from its original context, and, in such a manner, as to subvert its original spatial intention.
Gehry is sometimes associated with what is known as the "Los Angeles School," or the "Santa Monica School" of architecture. The
appropriateness of this designation and the existence of such a school, however, remains controversial due to the lack of a unifying
philosophy or theory. This designation stems from the Los Angeles area's producing a group of the most
influential postmodern architects, including such notable Gehry contemporaries as Eric Owen Moss and Pritzker Prize-winner
Thom Mayne of Morphosis, as well as the famous schools of architecture at the Southern California Institute of Architecture
(co-founded by Thom Mayne), UCLA, and the USC.
Gehry's work has its detractors. Among the criticisms:
- The buildings waste structural resources by creating functionless forms
- The buildings are apparently designed without researching the local climate
- The spectacle of a building often overwhelms its intended use (especially in the case of museums and arenas)
- The buildings do not seem to belong in their surroundings "organically"
Seattle's EMP Museum represents an example of this phenomenon. Microsoft's Paul Allen chose Gehry as the architect of the urban structure to house his public collection of music history artifacts. While the result is undeniably unique, critical reaction came in the form of withering attacks. The bizarre color choices, the total disregard for architectural harmony with built and natural surroundings, and the mammoth scale led to accusations that Gehry had simply "got it wrong." Admirers of the building remind critics that similar attacks were leveled against the Eiffel Tower in the late 19th century, and that only historical perspective would allow a fair evaluation of the building's merits. However, practical criticisms have continued.
Gehry's works have also raised concerns about possible environmental hazards. According to the Los Angeles Times, Disney Hall in downtown Los Angeles has "roasted the sidewalk to" "enough to melt plastic and cause serious sunburn to people standing on the street." Later computer modeling of the structure revealed that several surfaces were acting as parabolic mirrors, concentrating sunlight and heat into small areas on the pavement. The city paid for the offending panels to be sanded in order to reduce the glare. Gehry, commenting on the incident at a fundraiser, remarked:
According to CNN, Case Western Reserve University "takes precautions with Gehry's sloping roof" on its Weatherhead School of Management building:
Gehry's projects have also been criticized for ballooning budgets. The Gehry-designed building for Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University was originally planned to cost $25 million, then was raised to $40 million after Gehry was hired. The cost of the building eventually went up to more than $60 million. Kim Cameron, a former dean of the business school, quoted in an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, said the complexity of the project led to rising construction costs. "Everyone expected people to line up to build a Frank Gehry building," Mr. Cameron said. "Instead, we got comments like the one we got from a steel contractor, who said, 'Look, we can build a bunch of square boxes and earn the same $20-million that it will cost to build your building. But we can do those in six months, and it will take two years to do your building.'
Recent criticism of Gehry suggests he is repeating himself. Critics claim the use of disjointed metal panoply (often titanium) that has become Gehry's trademark is overused, and that almost all of his recent work seems derivative of his landmark Bilbao Guggenheim. Defenders respond that these criticisms ignore the subtleties that have emerged as his style has progressed. Although many of his buildings have maintained the vocabulary of rolling metallic forms, they argue, specific forms have never been repeated, and that within this motif is incredible variety and innovation. Some say Gehry would find it difficult not to rehash Bilbao or Disney even if he wanted not to, because his "signature style" is so widely recognized that potential clients approach him expecting it. Gehry's defenders respond that this ignores the unprecedented amount of power Gehry holds in negotiations with clients, and the artistic integrity he must possess in order to achieve what he has. They argue that the similarities in his latest masterpieces are more akin to an artist fleshing out the frontier of a stylistic universe than a hack stamping out product for demanding clients.
Another criticism extends from the notion that Gehry's buildings ignore good urban design practice by turning their back on pedestrians (citing stark, limestone streetwalls of Disney Hall), and do not adequately respond to their physical context. It is interesting to note that Gehry is currently developing the urban design for a neighborhood in Downtown Los Angeles, under the working title Grand Avenue Project. Given the criticism he has faced regarding his lack of consideration for good urban design, it remains to be seen how he will approach this design, and how it will interact with the Disney Hall.
In academia, one of Gehry's most consistent critics is Hal Foster, an art critic who has taught art and art history at Princeton University and Cornell University.
Foster feels that much of Gehry's acclaim has been the result of attention and spectacle surrounding the buildings, rather than from an objective view.
In November, 2007, MIT sued Gehry, citing negligent design in the $300M Stata Center.
Other notable aspects of career
Gehry is a Distinguished Professor
of Architecture at Columbia University
and also teaches at Yale University
Gehry has gained a reputation for taking the budgets of his clients seriously. Complex and innovative designs like Gehry's typically go over budget. Sydney Opera House
, which has been compared with the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in terms of architectural innovation, had a cost overrun
of 1,400 percent. It was therefore duly noted when the Guggenheim Bilbao was constructed on time and budget. In an interview in Harvard Design Magazine Gehry explained how he did it. First, he ensured that what he calls the "organization of the artist
" prevailed during construction, in order to prevent political and business interests from interfering with the design. Second, he made sure he had a detailed and realistic cost estimate before proceeding. Third, he used CATIA
(Computer-Aided Three-dimensional Interactive Application) and close collaboration with the individual building trades to control costs during construction.
Gehry is considered a modern architectural icon and celebrity, a major "Starchitect" — a neologism
describing the phenomenon of architects attaining a sort of celebrity status. The term usually refers to architects known for dramatic, influential designs that often achieve fame and notoriety through their spectacular effect. Other notable celebrity architects include Zaha Hadid
, Thom Mayne
, Michael Graves
, Rem Koolhaas
, and Norman Foster
, all of whose works tend toward the edgy and subversive. Gehry came to the attention of the public in 1972 with his "Easy Edges
" cardboard furniture
. He has appeared in Apple's black and white "Think Different" pictorial ad campaign
that associates offbeat but revered figures with Apple's design philosophy
. He even once appeared as himself in The Simpsons
in the episode "The Seven-Beer Snitch
," where he parodied
himself by intimating that his ideas are derived by looking at a crumpled paper ball. He also voiced himself on the TV show Arthur
, where he helped Arthur and his friends design a new treehouse. Steve Sample
, President of the University of Southern California
, told Gehry that, "...After George Lucas
, you are our most prominent graduate."
In 2005, veteran film director Sydney Pollack
, a friend of Gehry's, made the documentary Sketches of Frank Gehry
with appreciative comments by Philip Johnson, Ed Ruscha, Julian Schnabel, and Dennis Hopper, and critical ones by Hal Foster supplementing dialogue between Gehry and Pollack about their work in two collaborative art forms with considerable commercial constraints and photography of some buildings Gehry designed. It was released on DVD by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
on August 22, 2006, together with an interview of Sydney Pollack by fellow director Alexander Payne and some audience questions following the premiere of the film.
- Ronald Davis Studio/Residence, Malibu, CA, 1971-2
- Easy Edges furniture series 1972.
- Exhibit Center, Merriweather Post Pavilion, and Rouse Company Headquarters, Columbia, Maryland, USA (1974)
- Harper House, Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1977)
- Gehry Residence, 1978
- Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, California, USA (various buildings, 1978-2002)
- Santa Monica Place, Santa Monica, California, USA (1980)
- California Aerospace Museum, Los Angeles, California, USA (1982-1984)
- Edgemar Retail Complex, Santa Monica, California, USA (1984)
- Frances Howard Goldwyn Hollywood Regional Library, Hollywood, California, USA (1985)
- Chiat/Day Building, Venice, California, USA (1985-1991)
- Vitra Design Museum, Vitra premises, Weil am Rhein, Germany (1989)
- Frederick Weisman Museum of Art, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA (1993)
- Iowa Advanced Technology Laboratories, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, USA (1987-1992)
- Disney Village, Disneyland Resort Paris, Paris, France (1992)
- Center for the Visual Arts, University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio, USA (1993)
- American Center, Paris, France (1994) (currently Cinémathèque Française)
- Siedlung Goldstein, Frankfurt am Main, Germany (1994) 162 Flats public building society.
- Energie Forum Innovation, Bad Oeynhausen, Germany 1995 http://www.energie-forum.de/
- Dancing House ("Fred and Ginger"), Prague, Czech Republic (1995) Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3
- Anaheim ICE (formerly Disney ICE), Anaheim, California (1995)
- Team Disney Anaheim, Anaheim, California (1995)
- Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Bilbao, Spain (1997)
- Der Neue Zollhof, Düsseldorf, Germany (1999)
- University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA (1999)
- Condé Nast Cafeteria, fourth floor of the Condé Nast Publishing Headquarters at Four Times Square in New York City, USA (2000)
- DZ Bank building, Pariser Platz 3, Berlin, Germany (2000)
- Experience Music Project, Seattle, Washington, USA (2000)
- Gehry Tower, Hanover, Germany (2001)
- Issey Miyake, Flagship Store, New York, New York, USA (2001)
- Peter B. Lewis Building, Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA (2002)
- Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, USA (2003)
- Maggie's centre, Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, Scotland (2003)
- Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, California, USA (2003)
- Ray and Maria Stata Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S. (2004)
- Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, Chicago, Illinois, USA (2004)
- MARTa, Herford, Germany (2005) http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/MARTa_Herford
- IAC/InterActiveCorp West Coast Headquarters, Sunset Strip, West Hollywood, California, USA (2005)
- The house currently owned by Brian Transeau, Los Angeles, California, USA
- Marqués de Riscal, Elciego (Rioja (wine) region), Spain (2006).
- IAC/InterActiveCorp Headquarters, in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City, USA, (2007)
- A stage for Mariza's show, at Walt Disney Concert Hall, USA (2007)
- Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio
Works in progress
- The Carrie Hamilton Theatre at the Pasadena Playhouse, in Pasadena, California
- Atlantic Yards, New York City
- Performing arts complex at the World Trade Center site, New York City
- Beekman Tower, New York City
- Grand Avenue Project, Los Angeles, California
- Art Gallery of Ontario renovation, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (2004)
- Museum of Tolerance, Jerusalem, Israel (expected completion in 2008)
- Lewis Science Library, Princeton University
- Ohr-O'Keefe Museum, Biloxi, Mississippi, U.S. (open 2005; all buildings expected to be complete by 2007)
- Panama: Bridge of Life Museum of Biodiversity, Panama City, Panama
- Guggenheim Abu Dhabi (GAD), Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (expected completion in 2011).
- Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia Pennsylvania (Announced October 19 2006)
- Louis Vuitton Foundation for Creation, Paris, France (Announced October 2006)
- Untitled Five Star Hotel & Event Center ("The Point") Lehi, Utah (Announced January 19 2007)
- Le Clos Jordan Winery, Lincoln, Ontario, Canada
- Luxury Hotel, apartments and Offices, Sønderborg, Denmark
- Frank Gehry Visitor Center at Hall Napa Valley, Saint Helena, California Napa (Announced July 1 2007)
- King Alfred Development Hove (Permission granted March 2007)
- Suna Kıraç Cultural Center, Istanbul, Turkey (It will start in newyear)
- Cultural Center, Lodz, Poland.
- New World Symphony campus, Miami Beach, Florida (expected completion in 2010)
- Temporary Pavilion for the Serpentine Gallery (Summer 2008).
- Le Parc des Ateliers SNCF - Arles-France
- Visual Arts; California Institute of the Arts (Valencia, California, USA—1987)
- Fine Arts; Rhode Island School of Design (Providence, Rhode Island, USA—1987)
- Engineering; Technical University of Nova Scotia (Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada—1989)
- Fine Arts; Otis Arts Institute (Los Angeles, California, USA—1989)
- Humanities; Occidental College (Los Angeles, California, USA—1993)
- Whittier College (Whittier, California, USA—1995)
- Architecture; Southern California Institute of Architecture (Los Angeles, California, USA—1997)
- Laws; University of Toronto (Toronto, Ontario, Canada—1998)
- University of Edinburgh (Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom—2000)
- University of Southern California (Los Angeles, California, USA —2000)
- Yale University (New Haven, Connecticut, USA—2000)
- Harvard University (Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA—2000)
- City College of New York (New York, New York, USA—2002)
- The School of The Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, Illinois, USA—2004)
- Sketches of Frank Gehry - Documentary
- Frank Gehry Architect - Guggenheim Publications 2001
- El Croquis 74/75 1995
- Architects Today - Laurence King Publishers
- Dal Co, Francesco and Forster, Kurt. W. "Frank O. Gehry: The Complete Works." Published in the United States of America in 1998 by The Monacelli Press, Inc. Copyright 1998 by The Monacelli Press, Inc.