Gehry Residence / Frank Gehry


When Frank Gehry and his wife bought an existing house in Santa Monica, California, the neighbors did not have the slightest idea that the corner residence would soon be transformed into a symbol of deconstructivism. Gehry, however, knew something had to be done to the house before he moved in. His solution was a bold one in the 1970′s that involved the “balance of fragment and whole, raw and refined, new and old” and would strike up controversy.

More on Gehry’s Residence after the break.

Gehry actually did keep the existing house almost completely in tact, but not in a conventional manner. The Dutch colonnial home was left in tact and the new house was built around it. Holes were made, walls were stripped, torn down and put up, and the old quiet house became a loud shriek of contemporary style among the neighboring mansions–literally. Neighbors hated it, but that did not change the fact that the house was a statement of art entwined with architecture.

© Flickr – User: Ken McCown

Gehry’s design wrapped around three sides of the old house on the ground floor, extending the house towards the street and leaving the exterior of the existing home almost untouched. The interior went through a considerable amount of changes on both if its two levels. In some places it was stripped to reveal the framing, exposing the joists and studs. It was repaired according to the addition, showing both old and new elements. This is especially evident when walking through the rooms of the house and passing by both new doors placed by Gehry and older ones originally in the house.


The entrance is barely discernible amidst the jutting angles of the exterior, which Gehry created from wood, , aluminum, and chain-link fencing. The apex of the old house peeks out from within this mix of materials, giving the impression that the house is consistently under construction. In 1991 due to the Gehry family’s growth which involved two boys, the house had to be expanded. Even though Gehry tried to maintain the same style of the house, allowing the original design to determine that of the addition, the house went through significant changes. The residence became much more “finished” which in turn stirred up the angry voices of those who felt strongly about the original raw deconstructivist aesthetics. Nonetheless the Gehry House is still a classic among California’s architectural works.

© Liao Yusheng

“I loved the idea of leaving the house intact… I came up with the idea of building the new house around it. We were told there were ghosts in the house… I decided they were ghosts of Cubism. The windows… I wanted to make them look like they were crawling out of this thing. At night, because this glass is tipped it mirrors the light in… So when you’re sitting at this table you see all these cars going by, you see the moon in the wrong place… the moon is over there but it reflects here… and you think it’s up there and you don’t know where the hell you are…” – Frank Gehry


Architect: Frank Gehry
Location: Santa Monica, California, USA
Project Year: 1977-1978
Photographs: Liao Yusheng,,, and on Flickr: Ken McCown. Drawings from
References:, The New York Times,

Cite: Perez, Adelyn. "Gehry Residence / Frank Gehry" 05 Jul 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 28 May 2015. <>

    Gehry Residence / Frank Gehry | ArchDaily

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  • Scarpa

    Much of his later work seems to be repetitive, branded and a caricature of itself…but the breadth and scope of his career is truly great. Like him or not, Gehry is a real master.

  • Steve

    “Like him or not, Gehry is a real master.”

    Couldn’t agree more!

    • ozmoto

      I like him… but the dude’s weird.

  • Stephan Hagenkord

    Reading: "Gehry Residence / Frank Gehry | ArchDaily"( )

  • James W. Packer

    This house always helps me see the journey Gehry's mind has taken. RT @archdaily: Gehry Residence / Frank Gehry

  • Rory

    Looks like a scaled up version of the houses I would make when I was 5 out of scraps i’d find on a building site.

  • Tuija Seipell

    RT @NewsArch: Gehry Residence / Frank Gehry #architecture always interesting what they build for themselves ▄▀ …

  • Michael Finch

    RT @NewsArch: Gehry Residence / Frank Gehry always interesting what they build for themselves ▄▀@CASUDI @archdaily

  • Sonny Suñga

    It's bigger now RT @NewsArch: Gehry Residence / #architecture always interesting what they build for themselves

  • Valerie Kamikubo

    RT @NewsArch: Gehry Residence / Frank Gehry #architecture always interesting wht they build 4 themselves ▄▀

  • Carlos Rosas

    Gehry Residence / Frank Gehry | ArchDaily | un clásico del deconstructivismo

  • Yoshihisa Tanaka

    フランク ゲーリー 住宅の増築RT @NewsArch Gehry Residence / Frank Gehry #architecture always interesting what they build for th…

  • Arch lover

    Amazing work by a master architect!

  • Cindy FrewenWuellner

    Gehry Residence: FOG's 1977 experiment in metal shapes, Santa Monica. #architecture

  • Mies van der Rohe

    Gehry Residence / Frank Gehry Once a hack, always a hack.

    • ned barlow, phd.

      criminal! did it for tax reasons! my neighbors have been pissed about this eyesore for decades.

  • Rick_From_NJ

    Five gallons of gasoline: $18.00
    A Bic Lighter: $1.98
    Ridding the neighborhood of Frankenstein’s Monster: Priceless

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  • Bobby

    Master or not…its hideous…

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