By striking the perfect balance between experimentation and maturity of style, Frank Gehry has established himself as one of the most prolific and well-known architects of the contemporary era.
Born in 1929 in Toronto, Canada, Gehry grew up in a family that was open to creativity: with his grandmother, he built cities out of wood chips, taken from his grandfather’s workshop; with his parents, he drew. It was his father who pushed him to study art. At the end of the 1940s, he entered the School of Architecture at the University of South California, from which he graduated in 1954, ranking among the best in his class. He then attempted a degree at Harvard, but did not complete it: he had his own projects, including ideas for socially responsible architecture, which did not fit in with the atmosphere in which he studied.
Gehry’s professional career was launched in 1962, when he founded his architectural firm in Los Angeles, which is still active. All the projects that pass through this firm are analyzed and designed by Frank Gehry. Around him, a team of experienced architects advise him and work with him to produce some of the most fascinating buildings of our time. Frank Gehry is known, for example, for his sinuous titanium-clad buildings such as the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. One of Frank Gehry’s most famous buildings is his personal home in Santa Monica, an amalgam of metal, wood and glass where cubes and panels of various shapes intersect to create a completely unique design.
Frank Gehry, as he often says in interviews, builds buildings with movement, with feeling, that aim to give some color to cities that are often very cold, flat and modernist.
As a member of the deconstructivist school of contemporary architecture, Gehry imagines buildings that are completely out of control, where chaos seems barely controlled. This is the case of the 8 Spruce Street tower in Manhattan, whose surface is ravaged by waves of metal, without apparent order. The “earthquake” effect is not unknown to deconstructivist architects, who oppose the modernist trend in architecture. Rejecting the link between form and function of a building, deconstructivists oppose the necessary efficiency of architectural design. Frank Gehry, as he often says in interviews, builds buildings with movement, with feeling, that aim to give a little color to cities that are often very cold, flat and modernist. This is the case of the Experience Music Project (2000), which presents itself to the visitor as several Christmas presents wrapped in shiny paper, one of them badly glued, which rises a little in the wind, revealing part of what it contains…
Frank Gehry also has influences from the Funk art movement, which took California by storm between 1960 and 1970. The artists of this movement used inexpensive and unbeautiful materials, such as clay, to produce quality work, somewhat reminiscent of Gehry’s work with metal.
Often criticized for his extravagance, Frank Gehry has remained very pragmatic about his techniques. Concerned about the environment, the harmony between a building, a city and its inhabitants, Frank Gehry is an inspiration for many young architects.
Some of Frank Gehry’s popular projects