A river is not usually the province of an architect. Cities grow around rivers, and buildings are built near rivers, but rarely is the river itself the subject of a design problem. Ever since news broke that Frank Gehry is leading a master plan effort for the Los Angeles River, there has been a marked increase in discussion of the river, though rarely with much historical background. Joseph Giovannini tries to correct this omission with his recent piece in the Los Angeles Review of Books, laying the groundwork from when the Army Corps of Engineers decided to line the river in concrete in the late 1930s to prevent flooding, and introducing all of the major players who have been working more recently to return the river to a more natural state.
Frank Gehry is “a Robert Moses With the Soul of a Jane Jacobs” in This Long-Read on the Los Angeles River
Paul Goldberger: "Frank Gehry Really Doesn’t Want To Be Remembered as Somebody Who Just Did a Few Iconic Buildings"
After he achieved celebrity status at the turn of the millennium, in recent years the conversation around Frank Gehry has switched tones, going from near-universal admiration to widespread controversy. Yet according to Paul Goldberger, whose biography of Gehry was released in September, both adoration and critique of the architect might engender an overly simplistic interpretation of his long and storied career. In this interview originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Q&A: Paul Goldberger on Frank Gehry's Life and Work," Goldberger delves into the many ways Gehry has been misunderstood over the years, and how his work, his psyche, and the interplay between the two have made him one of the most conversation-worthy architects of a generation.
Frank Gehry isn’t just the world’s foremost architect; he is, by all public standards, also one of our greatest living artists. Paul Goldberger’s new biography (his first), Building Art: The Life and Work of Frank Gehry, acknowledges the architect’s celebrity status but doesn’t acquiesce in it. Rather, Goldberger interrogates the peculiar psyche and restless contradictions of the man to shed light on the motivations behind the architecture. Metropolis editor Samuel Medina speaks to the newly minted biographer about defying genre conventions, unpacking the ambiguities of Gehry’s work, and giving reporters the finger.
Frank Gehry and critic Paul Goldberger sat down with Charlie Rose to "the art and science of architecture and Golberger's new biography, Building Art: The Life and Work of Frank Gehry." You can watch the full 34-minute discussion above.
In the mid-1980s, after literature had long been held hostage by postmodernist irony and cynicism, a new wave of authors called for an end to negativity, promoting a "new sincerity" for fiction. Gaining momentum into the 1990s, the movement reached a pinnacle in 1993 when, in his essay E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction, pop-culture seer David Foster Wallace, a proponent of this "new sincerity," made the following call to action: “The next real literary ‘rebels’ in this country might well emerge as some weird bunch of anti-rebels, born oglers who dare somehow to back away from ironic watching, who have the childish gall actually to endorse and instantiate single-entendre principles... These anti-rebels would be outdated, of course, before they even started. Dead on the page. Too sincere. Clearly repressed. Backward, quaint, naive, anachronistic. Maybe that’ll be the point. Maybe that’s why they’ll be the next real rebels. Real rebels, as far as I can see, risk disapproval. The old postmodern insurgents risked the gasp and squeal: shock, disgust, outrage, censorship, accusations of socialism, anarchism, nihilism. Today’s risks are different. The new rebels might be artists willing to risk the yawn, the rolled eyes, the cool smile, the nudged ribs, the parody of gifted ironists, the ‘Oh how banal.'"
Architecture, ever in debt to the styles and ideas of other art forms, could learn a thing or two now from the resuscitation of American fiction at the turn of the millennium. It too is enduring an identity crisis, mired by pessimism and uncertainty - a reality made painfully clear this past January when a New York Times Op-Ed by Steven Bingler and Martin C. Pedersen, How to Rebuild Architecture, divided camps and made the design world fume. In the editorial, the authors spoke vehemently of an architectural profession that has become mired by egos and been disconnected from public needs. Things quickly got ugly, critics wrestled with critics and subsequently the public got involved. What no one seemed to take into account is that this type of hounding is at the core of the problem. In its current landscape the discipline has struggled with its past, been deferential to its present, and wrestled with the uncertainty of its future. In a moment when we have become addicted to despondency, can anyone win?
"An avid yachtsman," Frank Gehry has designed his first yacht. As Esquire reports, the traditional larch wood sailboat boasts titanium and red accents with windows clad in warped lattice work. "Foggy," as it's named (an acronym for Frank Owen Gehry), was designed for Gehry's friend and developer Richard Cohen. Gehry collaborated with naval architect Germán Frers, who was charged with keeping Gehry's design practical. "Don't let me go too crazy," Gehry told Frers. "The boat has to work."
Since the Los Angeles Times broke the news that the LA River Revitalization Corp has enlisted Gehry Partners to lead a new master plan effort for the Los Angeles River, there have been a slew of negative responses: the Friends of the Los Angeles River have refused to endorse the Gehry effort, reactions collected by the Architects Newspaper ranged from skeptical to angry, and Alissa Walker at Gizmodo did not mince words when her headline declared “Frank Gehry is the Wrong Architect to Revitalize the Los Angeles River.” These responses raise real and legitimate concerns - progress on the LA River has been years, if not decades, in the making. There is already a master plan, prepared by Mia Lehrer and Associates, and the US Army Corps of Engineers approved a plan to restore 11 miles of the river, known as Alternative 20, just this past July. There are worries that this new effort could threaten the current approvals and funding.
Frank Gehry is an easy target for criticism. His buildings can be polarizing, and his detractors are quick to seize on any defect. Details are trickling out slowly, but a recent presentation to reporters revealed that the plan would eventually identify locations for parks and real estate developments, as well as establish a unified design theme for future improvements such as pedestrian and bicycle paths. For his part, Gehry has emphasized the water reclamation aspects of the project - an especially timely subject in drought-stricken California. And in an interview with Frances Anderton on KCRW’s “Design and Architecture,” Gehry was quick to clarify, “It’s not a building, I’m not doing a building!”
Gehry Partners, alongside Townscape Partners, has unveiled plans to redefine the "gateway" to California's Sunset Strip. A cluster of five distinct, Gehry-esque structures, the mixed-use proposal is one of several design alternatives that have been proposed by Townscape for the site. If built, it would include two residential buildings, featuring a mix of rental and for-sale apartments, along with retail, entertainment programs, and public gathering spaces.
Frank Gehry is said to be "quietly" working on a masterplan for the Los Angeles River in California. Prematurely announced by the Los Angeles Times, the City's mayor Eric Garcetti has confirmed the news, saying Gehry is producing "a master plan, in the truest sense of the word,” pro bono.
“To have the [Frederick Law] Olmsted of our time focusing on this, I think, is extraordinary,” Garcetti said, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) has awarded Frank Gehry's controversial Eisenhower Memorial final approval during a meeting held on July 9. This means all agencies overseeing the project has (finally) agreed on the design, which has taken 15 years and many design revisions to achieve. The project, now a joint venture between Gehry and AECOM, was initially granted preliminary approval last October.
"The resulting Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial design satisfies the goals of the seven design principles established for this site in 2006 by the NCPC to preserve and enhance the unique character of this site and establish a new green space within the context of L’Enfant’s plan for Washington D.C.," said the NCPC in their final report. You can read the report in full, here.
The world of architecture is small. So small in fact, that Rem Koolhaas has been credited with the creation of over forty practices worldwide, led by the likes of Zaha Hadid and Bjarke Ingels. Dubbed “Baby Rems” by Metropolis Magazine, this Koolhaas effect is hardly an isolated pattern, with manifestations far beyond the walls of OMA. The phenomenon has dominated the world of architecture, assisted by the prevalence and increasing necessity of internships for burgeoning architects.
In a recent article for Curbed, Patrick Sisson dug into the storied history of internships to uncover some unexpected connections between the world's most prolific architects. With the help of Sisson's list, we've compiled a record of the humble beginnings of the household names of architecture. Where did Frank Gehry get his start? Find out after the break.
In honor of International Museum Day we’ve collected twenty compelling museum projects. In this round up you’ll find a truly global selection; from Wang Shu's Ningbo Historic Museum in China and Tod Williams + Billie Tsien's Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia to Monoblock's Contemporary Art Museum in Buenos Aires, see all of our editors’ favorites after the break!
Tonight the Pritzker Prize will hold its annual award ceremony, this year honoring the work of 2015 laureate Frei Otto, who sadly passed away the day before he was announced as this year's winner on March 10th. This year, the ceremony will be hosted in Miami Beach at Frank Gehry's New World Center, the first time the ceremony has been held in the Miami Area. Speakers will include Tom Pritzker and Chair of the Jury, Lord Peter Palumbo, alongside a selection of past Pritzker Laureates.
After Facebook began its move into its new Frank Gehry-designed headquarters last week, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has praised his architect for his work. In a post on his personal Facebook page yesterday, Zuckerberg shares the story of how Gehry he initially turned down Gehry's request to design the project, saying that "even though we all loved his architecture... We figured he would be very expensive and that would send the wrong signal about our culture."
But Frank Gehry persisted, saying that he would match any bids the company received. As a result, Zuckerberg has now praised Gehry - in a somewhat uncharacteristic description of the architect - for being "very efficient."
Read Zuckerberg's full statement, after the break.
Ever since its unprecedented skyward growth in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Manhattan has been an icon of construction all over the world, with recent estimates concluding that the island contains some 47,000 buildings. However, as with all construction, completed projects are just the tip of the architectural iceberg; Manhattan is also the home of many thousands of unloved, incomplete, and downright impossible proposals that never made it big in the Big Apple.
Of course, the challenges of New York are indiscriminate, and even world-renowned architects often have difficulties building in the city. After the break, we take a look at just three of these proposals, by Antoni Gaudí, Frank Lloyd Wright and Frank Gehry, courtesy of 6sqft.
The wait is over; premiere dates for the highly anticipated film The Competition have been released. The first documentary ever to focus on the tense process of architectural competitions, The Competition captures a fascinating account on how five world renowned architects – Jean Nouvel, Frank Gehry, Dominique Perrault, Zaha Hadid and Norman Foster – “toil, struggle and strategize to beat the competition.” The premise is based on a nearly forgotten, 2008 competition for a new National Museum of Art of Andorra, a small Pyrenees country nestled between Spain and France, which has yet to be realized.
Above is a never-before-seen clip of Frank Gehry discussing project economics with the competition jury. Watch the official trailer and see if The Competition is premiering in a city near you, after the break.
An overlooked strip mall at the corner of Sunset and Crescent Heights boulevards will soon be replaced by a mixed-use, walkable community designed by Frank Gehry. Known to be the “gateway to the Sunset Strip,” the West Hollywood site will be comprised of 249 apartments, restaurants, retail storefronts and a central plaza - all within "an environmentally sensitive building that complements and contributes to the historic architecture in the neighborhood.”
“Frank Gehry’s deep understanding of the property, its history and the context will elevate the project to the iconic and timeless status that it deserves,” said Townscape partner and project developer Tyler Siegel.
February 17 is Mardi Gras, or “Fat Tuesday,” traditionally a Catholic holiday that celebrates the last night of indulging in guilty pleasures before participating in the penitential season of Lent. Celebrated around the world with elaborate parties, parades, dancing, and other frivolities, its festivities are most famously celebrated within the United States today in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, the site of the first American Mardi Gras.
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.