Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center / Frank Gehry

LA Times shot by Isaac Brekken

Frank Gehry’s latest project, a $100 million clinic for brain health in , has just opened this past week.  For years, many felt Gehry’s signature style would be a perfect match for Vegas’ decked out architecture, yet the starchitect has continually declined offers.  However, this request to design a research facilitiy was quite different; Gehry agreed to design the center only if Huntington was added to the list of diseases the new center would study and treat (Gehry’s good friend saw several loved one suffer from the illness).

The building is definitely an aesthetic throwback, as it shares the recurring elements of previous designs.  At times, Gehry’s reliance on his ‘typical’ design moves can make his projects “lose their freshness;” and yet, typical of Gehry, he continues to find ways to justify them.


The design splits the complex into a pair of separate wings that sit in opposition to one another (one might assume the classic left-brain, right-brain metaphor).  The architecture seems to support that assumption as the office wing is rational and contained, and the auditorium free-flowing.

However, the success of the project lies in the two components’ relationship in section, as one piece seems to “infect” the other.  This relationship between the two separate wings “gives the design its surprising emotional punch” for simple physical connections between the buildings, on a metaphoric level, represent movement that the patients  are slowing loosing.

Atelier Gehry

As Christopher Hawthorne for the LA Times explains, “The unobstructed, informal movement that the design promotes from one wing to another suggests the way we use our brains every day, flowing from left-brain to right-brain thinking and back again without noticing the difference.”

Sure, it may seem, to some, to be far fetched – but on this building, we’ll go with Gehry and give him the benefit of the doubt that he has infused the building with meaning.  The 81 year old architect may be using familiar aesthetics, but something seems different.  The tectonics speak more to creating a notion of  decline, possibly an architectural take on the damage the disease can inflict on a person, or possible the architecture is even the broader issue of aging.

Source: Christopher Hawthorne for the LA Times

Cite: Cilento, Karen. "Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center / Frank Gehry" 25 May 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 May 2015. <>
  • MPArch

    Looking at this building is seriously deteriorating my brain health..

    • conjob


    • Christiane

      You are so right… I get a headache just watching the fotos! :)

    • bajatsa


    • Freak

      Let him do whatever he wants to do. You do whatever you want to do.

      Maybe your brain got deteriorated because you realize that you cannot possibly make some people believe in you to let you do whatever you want to do.

      I understand why all the naysayers below say what they say. They got so jealous and can’t help but bark at the moon.

      • MPArch

        Relax there, bulldog… Only reason this is giving me brain diahrrea (or at least the reason for the metaphor) is that it’s a brain health clinic. As someone below us said, this is okay for theaters, museums, etc., but this is complete lack of service to have designed a clinic in this way. I’m working on a huge research clinic here New York (larger than this) and the most basic thing that is involved in its design is that it needs straight walls haha.. The amount of machinery and research equipment that is needed severely restricts what you can do. I’m wondering how the doctors’ reactions were when they took a look at the plans and then took another glance at the equipment specs and cut sheets..

        Freak, are you 19 years old in college Design Fundamentals and thinks this look cool? Jealous??? Really? We’re jealous?

      • Angela

        I must agree with Freak at least in one respect: it often is a matter of mutual respect and understanding. People often go “mad” because they are asked to deny their own true nature, taking up a standard role defined by society rather than learning to live with their own unique talents. This is something that no human being can do for their entire lives – and sooner or later they will crack.

        So when every human being were to just be accepted for what they are, and respectfully encouraged to contribute to society in their own way, there would be much less use for labels like “insane”.

        But also, as MPArch noted, it is somewhat troubling that such a building would be part of a Brain Health Clinic. Even though patients are not treated in the space.

        What to add… I believe we can all agree that this is purposely provocative! So in the end I suppose it may be a matter of knowing what the architect had in mind. If they meant it as an insult, then it is most likely such. On the one hand, the article clearly states that they agreed to design the center only if Huntington was added to the list of diseases, for personal reasons, and because of this I am keen to consider this “crazy” structure as a way to introduce some playfulness in an otherwise unhealthily somber environment.

        My only hope is that such a structure will bring more smiles to the faces of those able to appreciate it, than anger in the hearts of those seeing it as completely insulting towards some extremely serious topics.

        Fingers crossed.

  • slimwirotsi

    what is wrong with this architects whole ideology of architecture, this kind of language was ok for theaters and music venues but this is a clinic! a Clinic 100 mill on a clinic and people are dying cause there’s no medicine in 3rd world africa!
    and someone else is actually defending this with the line “The unobstructed, informal movement that the design promotes from one wing to another suggests the way we use our brains every day, flowing from left-brain to right-brain thinking and back again without noticing the difference” talk about loosing touch with reality
    what actually happens behind those winding ribbons of walls!
    waste of space

    • fabricez

      I totally agree.
      This is obscene.

      • Herb

        You are so right

    • shane

      The only reason why I’d disagree is because the center will use their new building as an icon for their organization and cause, which would help raise donations and marketing appeal

    • reality

      You should talk about that to the fashion world, and you know how extravagant they are.

      Or just give some freedom to architecture. You know, we architects are not Saints. We just want to create something artsy. Will you tell a painter not to paint because what he does is a piece of s–t?

  • pp

    Plans please, and urgently the section that was mentioned…

  • ven det

    please find another solution (like virtual reality or something else) for “starchitects” so they can masturbate in a cheaper way.

    • emre


    • Denis

      Gehry crossed the line between Architecture and egocentrism. He should leave Bilbao.

    • raphael


      it is like fashion or contemporary art, it can be bad but if someone is famous layman agrees..

    • Wakka

      Maximally agree!!

  • 16:08:78

    If this buildings treats brain disease, what treats this buildings desease?

    If the relation between positions of the buildings is the main source of ‘emotional’ meaning, by justifying this with an analogy of the left, right hemispheres of our brain, then this project in terms of actively engaging communication with people is a failure. I would dare say the strongest elements carrying this emotional meaning are the windows. Which may remind people of typical apartment windows, but in a distorted configuration, adding drama to a common, ordinary element. But hey, let’s not kid ourselves, this technique on windows, is employ in many other Gehry buildings, it is not particularly intended for this location or function.

    I don’t see how the super shiny stainless steel tectonics speaks more of creating a notion of decline; distorted form on this building does that. But then all Gehry “signature style” buildings would be read as declining structures.

    Now, I will tell you what this yelling building effectively DOES mean.


    You can test this by remembering what was your first thought when you saw the first image. Gehry.


    Is Gehry loosing its cool?

    • CMO ARCH


  • a r c h i T E X T
  • kby

    amazing ! good job

  • P


  • Flick

    I really like how the shell looks on Gehry’s Guggenheim Bilbao, I even like the Disney Concert Hall (even though the neighbors, rightfully so, had issues with the sun glare), but this? This is ridiculous. Gehry – the man who was once a good architect is now stuck on his own preliminary gestures and seems to no longer be able to come up with an original idea. Such a shame.

    • Flick

      …either that or he’s given up on true architecture all together and now lets the underlings in his office copy, re-copy, and cremate his original success.

      • Ryan

        …or he has become a victim of his own success and clients only commission him to design a “Gehry” building. Just ask Libeskind…

      • miles

        Almost every interview i have seen of gehry has him claiming the mantle of artist.. presumably in order to publicly abdicate from his responsibilities as an architect.

  • arkacege

    It is a magnificent creation of Engineering…

    • Andrewcl

      Seriously??? do you really think that??..

  • Rob

    And this is called “Architecture”? It shows the total LACK of respect these architects have for the communities they design this junk for !

  • abe

    Gehry, please retire.

    • Lol


    • Charlesind06

      agree, a tired mind should rest a little

  • ibon

    Why do you drink, Frank, when you project?

    • Omikey

      Please tell me what it is, you drink?

  • jasmine

    All what i can say looking all this building….woooooooooooooooooooow!

  • voisin de ville

    white cubes for the rationnal left brain
    floppy things for the savage right brain

    wow !

    I hope sustainable developpement will make that kind of architecture unbearable for everyone, and make it disappear.

    why do some people still like Gehry’s buildings since Bilbao, have they ever seen what he build in 1970 and 1980 ?

    Could we say that money corrupted Ghery’s though ?

  • Christopher W. Earl

    It’s funny how haters in the comments section here forget that the Cleveland Clinic and the Lou Ruvo Center commissioned Gehry to design this, preferring instead to place the blame(!) squarely on Gehry. Meanwhile, architecture is not, and should not be, a selfless act. It is a creative act and people like Gehry are commissioned precisely because they are creative. I am very glad that selfless design is not the norm in popular architecture (suburban subdivision schemes and the homes therein notwithstanding).

    • james

      what self-indulgent trite!
      “architecture is not, and should not be, a selfless act”
      I dont know what world you live in, but in this one an architecture degree isnt some licence to build a monument to ones self with other peoples money!

      The building is just awful. his worst yet. and to make things worse the only people more delusioned than him are his cashed-up idiot clients.

      ps. no suprise there are no interior shots.

    • Hayden Marrero

      Sounds like someone’s read The Fountainhead…
      The building is completely ill inspired and is only very marginally redeemed by this greatly irresponsible write-up.
      What’s the going rate for architecture critics these days?

  • lol


  • Dariusz

    Think it’s as bit too expensive and i think this should be called sculpture..
    Doesn’t architecture combine sculpture (beauty) and functionalism. When there are walls coming out, doing absolutely nothing but continuing the facade for form’s sake, this is a waste of money. These difficult economic times, I believe are sometimes b.s., when people have money to build such monstrosities that have these additional non-functioning parts – waste of money. I don’t mind the white (back) to the building, which perhaps makes sense, without being over the top frivolous. Let’s have some building awards that take budget into consideration.

  • wtf

    Offensive to the architectural practice. that is all.

    • Jhon P.


  • rit

    By looking at this project it tells me Gehry hes no appreciation for people as people. At all. I find it an insult to humanity.
    Is this for MK ultra illuminati-mind-programmed slaves? It must be, seriously.

    • Pierre

      An insult to humanity… really
      Unclench dude, unclench.

  • Mike

    seriously…i just threw up my lunch how does he continuely get away with this? its not architecture,its not functional, pretty sure he lost function of both sides of his brain. All he does is crumple the same piece of notebook paper and tell his interns to make it work. I hope they have plenty of duct tape to plug up the massive leaks it’ll have in a year

  • Kenyan

    How does that even translate as architecture? i mean, habitat, shelter, security, and in this case, medicine or at least a related theme but looking at it, it makes me feel like if i ever had brain disease, this is NOT the place to go and get it treated. really. BUT it would look sweet on canvas..maybe thats what he should get into. painting. this particular architecture doesnt stand well with such a name. Gehry.

  • geiroed

    It makes me wanna puke just like puked my entire studio when I used for the first time 3DS modifiers

  • hovaard

    i do not understand what, why, where, who, how in the world this stuff continues. boo! hiss! razz!

  • pero

    all of you give him a breake, hi is 82, he already did what had to do for architecture, yes we all’ve seen his works acting like this one but thats not a reason to call him…like few of you

    • Flick

      Oh pero, give it a rest. This is architectural critiquing at its best. Weren’t critiques given in school to help make one a better, more informed architect? Constant praise does nothing but gives one a big head and makes the design lacking clarity and reason – whether that be for sculptural reasons or not. Do you feel that this building should be honored through historical preservation in 50 years (if it stands the test of time that is) – I think not.

    • James

      Just because an architect has been designing for 50-odd years doesn’t mean he can just turn around and design drivel like this.

      Is a successful football still successful if he then thinks he’s done enough in his career and starts kicking the ball into his own net?

      This is a massive own goal for architecture. Gehry, you’ve let the whole side down.

      • James

        Footballer* sorry.

  • rouan

    “$100 million clinic for brain health”

    Why didnt they just settle for $30m and use the other $70m for actual research into brain health!? This first sentence makes the entire thing ridiculous. Hopefully a large part of that sum is for actual equipment and not just because its a gehry-brand.

  • Pato Turen


  • Dominic

    there’s no interior space picture in this post. I wonder why? :/ (sarcasm)

  • alexleonard

    Ugh. Contrive, much? Even for Gehry this is not acceptable. I agree that the forms for Bilbao and Disney are seductive, but this is ultimate cartoonery! Next will be a silver plated, distorted rubber-ducky. He’s devolving in front of our eyes!