“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
Organized by the New York School of Interior Design, and curated for CMOA by Raymund Ryan, curator of architecture, Carnegie Museum of Art is hosting a new exhibit: Maggie’s Centres: A Blueprint for Cancer Care. Opening September 13, the exhibit showcases the extraordinary Maggie’s Centres, works of integrated architecture designed to address essential human needs and the everyday challenges of cancer patients undergoing treatment. The work of Frank Gehry, Piers Gough, Steven Holl, Rem Koolhaas, and Richard Rogers have been selected to be included in the exhibition, and provide insight into how some of the most influential architects of our age have sought to positively alter the look, and more significantly, the feel, of healthcare facilities.
Frank Gehry’s design for the performing arts center at ground zero in New York has been shelved and the planning board will instead select a design from three other finalist architects, the New York Times has reported. This follows on reports from February that Frank Gehry’s original design was being revised and his plans for an initial 1,000 seat center were being abandoned. “We’re in the process of selecting a new architect,” said John E. Zuccotti, the real estate developer who is the chairman of the arts center’s board. “Three architectural firms are being considered.” Gehry, however, has said that he’s heard “zero at ground zero” and hasn’t been informed of the board’s decision. To learn more about the plans for the performing arts center see the full article from the New York Times.
Because of – rather than in spite of - Frank Gehry‘s seeming inability to design something rectilinear, CEO of Louis Vuitton Bernard Arnault specifically sought him out to design the Fondation Louis Vuitton, a private art gallery in Paris. Arnault asked Gehry to create something worthy of the foundation’s first artistic act; “a haute couture building.” The resulting glass palace is immediately recognizable as a Frank Gehry design, with a form that conjures images of sailboats and fish. In this article for Vanity Fair, Critic Paul Goldberger considers the building within the prestigious history of Paris museums, and within Gehry’s larger body of work. Click here to read the story.
One of Frank Gehry‘s earliest works, the former Rouse Company Headquarters, is currently undergoing a $25 million renovation that will see it converted into a Whole Foods market and community wellness center. The building, which Gehry dubbed an “elegant warehouse,” was designed in 1974 for developer James Rouse, who founded Columbia, Maryland in the 1960s. The developer behind the current renovation is The Howard Hughes Corp, a Dallas based company that now serves as the master developer of Columbia.
Read on for more about the renovation
As a student of architecture, the formative years of study are a period of wild experimentation, bizarre use of materials, and most importantly, a time to make mistakes. Work from this period in the life of an architect rarely floats to the surface – unless you’re Zaha Hadid or Frank Gehry, that is. A treasure trove of early architectural drawings from the world’s leading architects has recently been unearthed from the private collection of former Architectural Association Chairman Alvin Boyarsky. The collection is slated to be shown at the Kemper Art Museum, Washington University, St. Louis, as a part of the exhibition Drawing Ambience: Alvin Boyarsky and the Architectural Association from September 12th to January 4th, 2015.
Take a look at the complete set of architects and drawings for the exhibition after the break.
When someone is in the public eye as much as Frank Gehry, it’s easy for them to be misrepresented in the media. Fortunately, this interview by Architectural Record’s editor-in-chief Cathleen McGuigan sets the record straight: Gehry doesn’t consider himself as an artist, and he doesn’t think of architecture as sculpture (despite what he once said). He is however hugely influenced by the way artists work, inventing ways to make things when it might otherwise be thought impossible. That’s why he’s always the one to “jump off the cliff”, as he puts it. You can read the full interview here.
Frank Gehry, renowned for his often enormous public works projects, is turning his attention to something on a smaller scale: a campus for the non-profit organization CII (Children’s Institute Inc.) in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Watts. Perhaps best known for Watts tower, the architecture of Watts is shaped by limited income and the need to deter vandalism. according to the LA Times Gehry’s intervention will hopefully be a tipping point for a neighborhood desperate to change not just its aesthetic but its future. Read the full article about the project here.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art has revealed Frank Gehry‘s designs for a 169,000 square foot expansion that will see the museum dig down to create a new set of galleries underneath its existing footprint. Already an unusual choice for a project whose brief called to preserve the architectural integrity of the existing building, Gehry’s design is an unexpectedly muted intervention, focusing on interior rearrangement and additions that are in keeping with the 86 year-old building’s aesthetic.
Perhaps the most dramatic alteration proposed by Gehry is a plan to punch a hole through the museum’s famous ‘Rocky steps’, the iconic training location from the Rocky film series, creating a window into the new subterranean galleries; however as the $350 million project will by necessity by undertaken in stages, this intervention is likely to be a subject of discussion for some time.
More on the design after the break
Frank Gehry and Developer David Mirvish have revealed the latest design iteration in their embattled plan to build a set of mixed-use skyscrapers in Toronto. The new design reduces the number of towers, from three to two, however the remaining towers are taller than before, with one at 82 stories and one at 92.
The buildings will house apartments, a new art gallery and space for OCAD University as previously planned, but the decision to use two towers instead of three means that three of the five existing buildings can be retained – including the Princess of Wales Theatre, and two designated heritage warehouses – sidestepping some of the criticisms of the previous scheme.
Read on after the break for Frank Gehry’s take on the design
After winning the design competition for Germany‘s tallest apartment tower in January, Frank Gehry‘s project for the building on Alexanderplatz has already run into problems over fears that the 150-metre building could be too heavy for its site. The German edition of the Local is reporting that Berlin‘s Senate has placed the plans on hold because of the building’s proximity to the U5 branch of the U-Bahn tunnel, which it fears could be crushed under the weight.
More on the story after the break
Frank Gehry has been bestowed with Spain’s prestigious Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts. The Canadian-American architect was chosen as the award’s 34th laureate “for the relevance and impact of his creations in numerous countries, via which he has defined and furthered architecture in the past half century.”
“His buildings are characterized by a virtuoso play of complex shapes, the use of unusual materials, such as titanium, and their technological innovation, which has also had an impact on other arts,” stated the jury. “An example of this open, playful and organic style of architecture is the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, which, in addition to its architectural and aesthetic excellence, has had an enormous economic, social and urban impact on its surroundings as a whole.”
More information about Gehry’s selection, after the break…
Maggie’s Centres are the legacy of Margaret Keswick Jencks, a terminally ill woman who had the notion that cancer treatment environments and their results could be drastically improved through good design. Her vision was realized and continues to be realized today by numerous architects, including Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, and Snøhetta - just to name a few. Originally appearing in Metropolis Magazine as “Living with Cancer,” this article by Samuel Medina features images of Maggie’s Centres around the world, taking a closer look at the organization’s roots and its continued success through the aid of architects.
It was May 1993, and writer and designer Margaret Keswick Jencks sat in a windowless corridor of a small Scottish hospital, dreading what would come next. The prognosis was bad—her cancer had returned—but the waiting, and the waiting room, were draining. Over the next two years until her death, she returned several times for chemo drips. In such neglected, thoughtless spaces, she wrote, patients like herself were left to “wilt” under the desiccating glare of fluorescent lights.
Wouldn’t it be better to have a private, light-filled space in which to await the results of the next bout of tests, or from which to contemplate, in silence, the findings? If architecture could demoralize patients—could “contribute to extreme and mental enervation,” as Keswick Jencks observed—could it not also prove restorative?
This is the central idea behind the experiment Keswick Jencks, or “Maggie,” started with her husband, architectural historian and theorist Charles Jencks, more than two decades ago. Their mission—to provide free, global care for cancer patients through great architecture—has since expanded to encompass 17 building projects (“Maggie’s Centres”), many of them by celebrated architects like Richard Rogers and Rem Koolhaas.
After Facebook assumed the former Sun Microsystems complex in Palo Alto in 2011, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg set out to find an architect capable of handling a grand design for its main main headquarters building. Zuckerberg chose world famous architect Frank Gehry for the job (amid major concessions to the city of Palo Alto).
If he was looking for impact, Zuckerberg could have made no better choice. Gehry’s past designs have become renowned tourist attractions, like the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. They are considered some of the most important works of contemporary architecture on the planet.
Photos of the Gehry model that will become Facebook’s new HQ have been floating around for a couple of years. But with the building slated for completion next year, Facebook provided these new, exclusive images to Business Insider of what the world can expect from Gehry’s latest design: