Who What Why When Where & How
Who What Why When Where & How
Frank Gehry is a Canadian-American Pritzker prizewinner, who is based in Los Angeles, California. His work and talent began early as a young child where he would build miniature cities from scraps of wood. He studied at Los Angeles City College since 1947 and eventually graduating from University of South California School of Architecture. After graduating in 1954, he did not enter into architectural work immediately but served in several other jobs including some time in the military (Greer, 2011). He then went on to study city planning at Harvard Graduate School of Design.
Gehry’s work incorporates the deconstructive style that takes the no flowing form with fragmentation of manipulation of the structure, making the structures look like sculptures. In his work, he uses cheap material such as corrugated metal, chain link and plywood to come up with small fragments and distorted shapes with a sculpture’s look.
Figure 1. Frank Gehry’s residential house. From weburbanist, by urbanist, 2011.Retrieved from http://weburbanist.com/2008/02/03/the-house-that-shaped-an-architectural-generation-frank-gehrys-first deconstructivist-building/
With big and public places, such as The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain shown below, he makes many fragments or small units built around a big space, thereby eliminating monolithic style to come up with twisting shapes of buildings.
Figure 2.The Guggenheim Museum. From Artinfo, by N. Charney, 2011, retrieved from http://blogs.artinfo.com/secrethistoryofart/2011/02/11/inside-the-masterpiece-frank-gehrys-guggenheim-museum-bilbao/
Because of steering away from the theories of architecture where structures take a certain form, Gehry has managed to design extraordinary structures that draw attention all over the world. His designs are a complete departure from other structures made using the ordinary theories of architecture, and follow his own imagination. “His work does not adhere to existing theories or movements, making him one of the great revolutionaries of the art world,” (Charney, 2011). Moreover, he does not build structures to fit form, such as installation of equipment, but rather considers the form to influence the function, making him quite influential.
Gehry has built many buildings around the world in his career, such as in Spain where he built the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao in 1997, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles completed in 2003, the Dancing House in Czech Republic completed in 1996, and the newest design for University of Technology in Sydney. His work ranges for about 4 decades since he started his work in several architectural firms before he established his own firm in Los Angeles in 1962. In 2001, he partnered with LLP and currently employs professional architects.
Gehry’s work is considered to be deconstructionism, taking a very complex unexpected form. From his small house in Santa Monica, he has managed to influence the deconstructionist architectures who have borrowed from his ideas. According to Urbanist (2011), “Gehry is perhaps best known for his curvy, metallic wave-form museums in Bilbao, Seattle, Los Angeles and Minneapolis, but it all started with strange impulses applied to his own traditional little Santa Monica house in the late 1970s.” Moreover, many institutions seek his designs for the construction of functional buildings such as museums, offices, school institutions and concert halls, an indication of the influence of his work not only on the contemporary design but also on the whole world. Some of the architects influenced by Gehry are Peter Eisenman, Bernard Tschumi and Daniel Libeskind who have all built buildings drawing influence from the little house in Santa Monica. Currently, Gehry is changing even the deconstructionist style each time he designs a structure. For instance, he makes curved buildings rather than cubical fragments of houses such as in the new design for the University of Technology in Sydney (Greer, 2011).
Figure 3. Gehry’s proposed building at the University of Technology, Sydney. Retrieved from http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2011/jan/09/germaine-greer-frank-gehry-uts
Charney, N. (2011). Inside the Masterpiece: Frank Gehry’s “Guggenheim Museum Bilbao”. Retrieved from http://blogs.artinfo.com/secrethistoryofart/2011/02/11/inside-the-masterpiece-frank-gehrys-guggenheim-museum-bilbao/
Greer, G. (2011). Frank Gehry’s new building looks like five scrunched-up brown bags. Retrieved from http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2011/jan/09/germaine-greer-frank-gehry-uts
Urbanist. (2011). The House that Shaped an Architectural Generation: Frank Gehry’s First ‘Deconstructivist’ Building. Retrieved from http://weburbanist.com/2008/02/03/the-house-that-shaped-an-architectural-generation-frank-gehrys-first-deconstructivist-building/