Born in 1929, internationally acclaimed architect Frank Gehry has been headlining architectural news platforms since he established his Los Angeles practice in 1962 and remodeled his home in Santa Monica. Notorious for his expressive use of form (and its sometimes inflationary effect on project budgets), Gehry is best known for the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, which fellow architect Philip Johnson once dubbed “the greatest building of our time.”
Last week, Frank Gehry inaugurated his first building in Australia, with the formal opening of the Dr Chau Chak Wing Building at the University of Technology in Sydney (UTS). As his first in the country, the building therefore offers an opportunity for a whole new corner of the world to weigh in with their opinions on the polarizing style of the world’s foremost love-him-or-hate-him architect.
The resulting media flurry has provided a number of entertaining responses, both positive and negative. After the break, we round up some of the most amusing.
Over the past 14 months our Facebook fans have grown from 1 million to 1.5 million (), and as always our mission continues to be to post the best, latest and most relevant architecture news and projects. But, we couldn’t do it without your help (#thankyou). By liking, commenting and sharing our posts you’ve helped create a vibrant online community, spanning the globe. From the US to India, Brazil and Thailand, you (our fans) are constantly providing unique perspectives and cultural insight. When Frank Gehry lifted his finger and declared that 98% of everything that is built is pure shit, over 9,000 of you shared the post, more than 1,000 commented and as a result the post reached close to 3 million people worldwide.
To celebrate our new milestone on Facebook, we’ve rounded up the #Top10 Facebook Posts from the past 14 months, based on the number of people reached (as calculated by Facebook). From World Cup-related architecture to undulating staircases see the Top 10 Posts after the break.
On the wave of Frank Gehry’s proclamation that “98% of architecture is pure shit,” and a recent New York Times op-ed that declared architecture has lost its relevance with the general public, National Civic Art Society president Justin Shubow has joined the conversation by stating that “the profession has lost its way.”
“Architecture is suffering a crisis of confidence,” stated Shubow in his recent Forbes article. “It is never easy to admit that one is mistaken, still worse that one’s god has failed. It is all the harder when one’s false worldview has been the justification for one’s high social rank. But the growing crisis of confidence is a sign that a cherished dogma will finally be abandoned: The superiority of the architect to the common man.”
With Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in attendance, Frank Gehry presented the model for the future National Center for Social Action Through Music building in Lara state. The project is Gehry’s second in Latin America, following the recently inaugurated Biomuseo in Panamá.
To be located in Barquisimeto, Venezuela’s fourth most populated city, the National Center for Social Action Through Music forms part of the National Network of Youth and Children’s Orchestras and Choirs of Venezuela, more commonly known as “El Sistema.” Founded in 1975 by orchestra director José Antonio Abreu, El Sistema is now funded by the government and provides musical training and education for children from impoverished backgrounds. The Adjkm-designed Simon Bolivar Complex for Social Action is also part of El Sistema.
Learn more about the project after the break.
In just three short years, Frank Gehry’s 450,000-square-foot Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will open. More than 12 times the size of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim New York, the expansive $800 million museum will showcase 1960s art from around the world within an asymmetrical mountain of plaster blocks and self-cooling translucent cones. Anticipating its completion, the New York Times sat down with Gehry to hear the story behind the building’s design. Watch the full interview with Gehry, here.
The first week of December marked the beginning of the LA Philharmonic’s in/SIGHT concert series. The multimedia series will incorporate video images playing in sync with the performance, creating an immersive new way to experience the music for concert-goers. The first of these performances was the collaborative work of conductor Esa-pekka Salonen and artist Refik Anadol in an audio-visual rendition of Edgard Varèse’s Amériques. Using audio analysis and Kinect motion capture software to record Salonen’s movements while conducting, Anadol has created a stunning set of moving images that capture the very spirit of Varèse’s work. Learn more about this fascinating project, after the break.
Architecture photographer Danica O. Kus has shared with us images of Frank Gehry‘s recently completed Fondation Louis Vuitton. Labeled as a “late-career triumph” by Los Angeles Times critic Christopher Hawthorne, the sailed glass structure teeters on the edge of a Parisian water garden in Jardin d’Acclimatation. For a closer look at the building’s much-discussed structure, check out all of Kus’ images after the break.
With criticism forcing progress on MAD’s “mountainous” Lucas Museum to come to a standstill, Frank Gehry has released a statement on the Chicago Tribune urging critics to “take the proper time to review” the museum before dismissing it.
“Chicago is a great city for architecture and has historically supported innovative, forward-looking work. There is a natural impulse to deride a project in the early stages of design, particularly one that has a new shape or expression. This is not a new concept,” says Gehry, citing that both the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and Los Angeles Walt Disney Concert Hall were shrouded in criticism before becoming “great assets to their mutual cities.”
The Science Secondary School in Kinkplatz, Vienna is the work of late Modernist architect Helmut Richter. Considered to be his most iconic and enduring work, Richter’s school is now faced with partial demolition to make way for a conversion of the building’s use and architects from around the world are making an effort to prevent that demolition from happening. Influential individuals, from Zaha Hadid to Bernard Tschumi, have signed a petition voicing their dissent and demanding that Richter’s legacy be protected. See the details, and sign the petition, after the break.
ArchDaily is continuing our partnership with The Architectural Review, bringing you short introductions to the themes of the magazine’s monthly editions. In this editorial from AR’s November 2014 issue, AR Editor Catherine Slessor uses the opening of Frank Gehry’s Fondation Louis Vuitton as occasion to examine the split that has developed within the architectural profession, musing “On how architecture can be either manifestation of vanity or source of social transformation.”
One of the most depressing illustrations of how far architecture has lost its grip on reality is Frank Gehry’s new handbag. Along with other selected ‘iconoclasts’ from the world of fashion, art and design, Gehry was tasked by French luxury goods purveyor Louis Vuitton to design a bespoke limited edition ‘piece’. Gehry’s new Fondation Louis Vuitton has just opened in Paris and he is the man of the hour, so it seems obvious that after designing a monumental repository for contemporary art, he should turn his hand to the trifling matter of a fashion accessory. The handbag is yours for £2490. The art museum is yours for around £100 million, though some speculate that it cost much, much more.
CEMEX has announced both the international and national winners of the XXIII Building Awards, which aim to recognize the best architecture and construction both internationally and within Mexico. All projects were reviewed by a panel of judges comprised of some of the most important and prestigious representatives of the industry at an international level.
The international awards recognizing housing, institutional/industrial and large-scale infrastructure projects that were built during 2013 and stand out for their constructive solutions, aesthetics and innovative techniques. Finalist projects ranged from Frank Gehry’s Biomuseo in Panama to Plan B Arquitectos’ Click Clack Hotel in Bogotá, Colombia, covering a range of countries and architectural styles.
The CEMEX Building Award is itself a unique piece of art created by Mexican sculptor Miguel Angel Gonzalez and made out of black marble and concrete.
Read on after the break for both the international and national winners…
“Let me tell you one thing. In this world we are living in, 98 percent of everything that is built and designed today is pure shit. There’s no sense of design, no respect for humanity or for anything else. They are damn buildings and that’s it.
“Once in a while, however, there’s a small group of people who does something special. Very few. But good god, leave us alone! We are dedicated to our work. I don’t ask for work. I don’t have a publicist. I’m not waiting for anyone to call me. I work with clients who respect the art of architecture. Therefore, please don’t ask questions as stupid as that one.”
This, followed by the middle finger, was Gehry’s response to a reporter asking the 85-year-old architect how he responds to the critics claiming he practices “showy architecture.”
Originally covered by El Mundo and translated by Gizmodo, the awkward confrontation happened at a press conference in Oviedo, Spain, which Gehry attended to receive the Prince of Asturias Awards for the Arts.
Emotions may have been running high considering this past week Gehry celebrated the opening of the new Fondation Louis Vuitton building which the critics have claimed to be not much more than a “spectacle.”
The people behind Frank Gehry’s Fondation Louis Vuitton (FLV) in Paris, which is set to officially open on the 27th October 2014, recently invited a band of architecture critics to take a look around and pen their thoughts. Gehry’s bold approach to architectural form, most evident in buildings like the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in LA, matches the foundation’s aim to “promote and support contemporary and artistic creation” in France. According to their website, they in particular embody “a passion for artistic freedom.” How, then, has the enormous sailed structure, challenged by local opposition from the outset, settled into its Parisian parkland surroundings?
See what The Guardian’s Oliver Wainwright, The Observer’s Rowan Moore, Vanity Fair’s Paul Goldberger, The LA Times’ Christopher Hawthorne, as well as the Architectural Digests’ Mayer Rus, had to say about Gehry’s latest completed building after the break.
The US Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) has approved Frank Gehry‘s revised design for the Eisenhower Memorial in Washington DC, meaning that after a fifteen-year process, all the involved parties have finally agreed on a design. Gehry’s most recent design – a slightly scaled-down version of the one he produced in 2011, with the two smaller woven steel tapestries removed to open up the view to the Capitol – was approved by the National Capitol Planning Commission (NCPC) earlier this month, allowing the CFA to give their final verdict on the new design.
The National Capital Planning Commission has granted preliminary approval to a modified version of Frank Gehry’s controversial Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial design, which removed two of the stainless steel tapestries to clear views towards the Capitol. The project, which has remained stagnant since 2011, has been shawled in turmoil largely due to criticism regarding its “grandiose” design and focus on Eisenhower as a boy. The vote will now advance Gehry’s design to the Commission of Fine Arts for approval.
More images of the revised design, after the break.
When we evaluate the work of architects and other designers, we often treat it as if the design was created in a vacuum. It’s easy to forget that the vast majority of designs emerge from a collaboration between the designer and their client, and when it comes to the design’s success the input of the client can often be as important as the work of the designer. This creative relationship can be a difficult one to navigate, yet it is usually held together by a single document: the brief.
Released today, this half-hour documentary by director Tom Bassett entitled Briefly takes a long hard look at the brief, with architects Frank Gehry and David Rockwell, industrial designer Yves Béhar, illustrator and author Maira Kalman, marketing executive John C Jay and creative executive John Boiler all pitching in their experience with creative briefs, and recounting stories where, for better or for worse, the brief had a major effect on their work.
More on the documentary after the break