Friday, March 2, 2012

a gaudy distraction from the dark financial forces

from Guardian article:

Frank Gehry: 'There's a backlash against me'

Frank Gehry's success with the Bilbao Guggenheim sparked an inevitable backlash, but, as he says, 'expression' is still vital to architecture

There are iconic architects and there is the architect who is the icon of iconic architecture. Whether he wanted to or not, Frank Gehry, as the creator of the titanium-clad Bilbao Guggenheim, made the original for 10,000 wannabes – pointy, swooshy, shiny things, would-be masterpieces that proclaimed regeneration for whichever ex-industrial swamp or intended megalopolis that happened to host them. He was feted in magazines and film and by an appearance on The Simpsons. He became the epitome of the idea – again, without much reference to his own wishes – that genius in architecture lies in spectacular shape-making.

Then there was the inevitable reaction. Iconic architecture came to be seen as wasteful, extravagant, unsustainable and, worse, a gaudy distraction from the dark financial forces for which it was a bauble. It seemed perfectly to encapsulate the great pre-crash deception, by offering only the appearance of glamour and prosperity. According to the art critic Hal Foster, Gehry's Walt Disney concert hall in Los Angeles is a "media logo" and his style of architecture is a "winning formula" for "any corporate entity that desires to be perceived, through an instant icon, as a global player". Someone started selling T-shirts saying "Fuck Frank Gehry" (and he bought some).

Read the rest here..

Photograph: Paul Goguen/Bloomberg via Getty
Spruce Street tower
At the age of 81, Gehry completed his first skyscraper. It brings a joie de vivre to the New York skyline unmatched for decades

KennethGarrett/National Geographic/Getty Images)
The Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain. Frank Gehry's abstract masterpiece has curves designed to appear random, but carefully modelled on modern software to catch the light

Michael Sohn/AP
The Neuer Zollhof building. As part of the regeneration of Dusseldorf's harbour area, Gehry's buildings tilt, lean and twist

Richard Sobol/ZUMA/Corbis
The Ray and Maria Stata Centre for Computer, Information and Intelligence Sciences, MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Luminaries such as Noam Chomsky and Tim Berners-Lee have offices here

The Experience Music Project, Seattle. This museum pays tribute to 20th-century rock musicians and was inspired in part by the iconic design of Stratocaster guitars


Photograph: Susan Wood/Getty
Gehry residence
Gehry’s house, a low-budget makeover of a 1920s bungalow, was his creative calling card. He wrapped the building in corrugated sheet metal, timber and glass, translating the energy of sketches into built form


  1. IMO - looking at this body of previous work, I am very disappointed that Gehry's design for the Eisenhower Memorial in DC is spectacularly boring. I'd wish it were something as iconic as a Bilbao or a WDisney Hall. But then again, Gehry may have had to kowtow to the traditionalist design cadre in Washington DC...such a lost opportunity there!

  2. I agree in the resulting design for the Eisenhower - but in his defense - he may have been committee-ized to death - DC has a way of doing that - but word on the street is many want to hire another team for the job.

    btw - that house renovation at the end looks like a construction job site gone wrong!

  3. The highrise looks like a knock off of Studio Ganag's Aqua in Chicago.

    Imitation is the highest form of flattery - unless its poorly executed!

  4. "[Gehery] believes that his works respond to the places they are in"
    how do they do this?

  5. they say - you know what this place needs... more curvy walls.