Frank Gehry by Lucinda Bellm

Frank Gehry is a Canadian-American architect who is based in Los Angeles. He studied architecture at the university of Southern California and at Harvard, and then went on to work under Andre Remondet for a year.

 Gehry’s older work is very influenced by other architects such as Richard Neutra and Frank Lloyd Wright. He explored the use of inexpensive materials such as plywood and corrugated steel in much of his residential work, which gave his structures an unfinished, fragmented or collage like look. His work very closely followed the California “funk” art movement throughout the 1960’s which featured the use of inexpensive found materials such as clay and wood to make serious art.

It was only in the late 1970’s that Gehry began to move to the style he is most commonly recognized for now. Most of his work falls under the style of Deconstructivism, this is a movement in postmodern architecture that began in the late 80’s that is distinguished by ideas of fragmentation and a huge use of non-rectilinear shapes. His method for envisioning a building was through semiautomatic drawings and handmade models, but this provided the most immediate entry into his creative process. Since he converted to the deconstructive aesthetic, the scope of his commissions grew to include office buildings, libraries, schools, restaurants and exhibition design.

It was in 1989 that Gehry was awarded the Pritzker prize that brought increased recognition and it was in 1991 when he was commissioned to design the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain one of his most recognized designs to date. Like most of Gehry’s recognized work, his use of non-traditional materials and his sensitivity to the environments for his buildings are legendary. This is very apparent in his innovative designs for the Guggenheim, which demonstrates a distinct sensitivity to its surroundings, which initially was a former industrial site. In this particular building he tends to cluster small units within a larger space rather than creating a monumental structure. It also escapes from the conventional white cube of museum architecture but instead, has uniquely configured exhibition spaces to hold installations of modern art as well as traditional sculpture. As for the exterior it is a shimmering pile of twisting, curving shapes surfaced in titanium. It was through the introduction of sophisticated computer software called CATIA that made the construction of the Guggenheim possible. It was CATIA that helped recognized the buildings non-repetitive and rolling curves that makes it still to this day a fascinating design. The Gehry firm still very much rely on the use of technology, Digital Project is a sophisticated 3D computer modeling program originally created for use by the aerospace industry, to thoroughly document designs and to rationalize the bidding, fabrication, and construction processes.

In the large scale public commissions he has received since strictly following design aspects under the style of Deconstructivism, we see the way in which he combines incredible curving forms with sophisticated deconstructive massing achieving a unique aesthetic whilst retaining a deconstructed aesthetic that still very much fits in with culture and the surroundings in which the building belongs. This concept is clear through many of his designs including the hotel at Marques de Risqual in Spain, the Ray and Maria Stata center at MIT University to his own residential home in Santa Monica.

 “Frank Gehry: Biography from” Wiki Q&A combined with free online dictionary, thesaurus, and encyclopedias. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 May 2010. <;.

 “Frank Gehry: Biography from” Wiki Q&A combined with free online dictionary, thesaurus, and encyclopedias. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 May 2010. <;.

 “Guggenheim Museum – Frank Gehry – Biography.”Guggenheim Museum – Past Exhibitions. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 May 2010. <;.

“Gehry Partners, LLP :: Home.”Gehry Partners, LLP :: Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 May 2010.<;.

Frank O.Gehry: Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao by Coosje Van Bruggen

One thought on “Frank Gehry by Lucinda Bellm

  1. In Paris, the only building of his is the Cinematheque in Bercy, orginally built for the American Center.

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