Architects are often bound by the will of their client, reluctantly sacrificing and compromising design choices in order to suit their needs. But what happens when architects become their own clients? When architects design for themselves, they have the potential to test their ideas freely, explore without creative restriction, and create spaces which wholly define who they are, how they design, and what they stand for. From iconic architect houses like the Gehry Residence in Santa Monica to private houses that double as a public-entry museum, here are 9 fascinating examples of how architects design when they only have themselves to answer to.
New photography by Hervé Hôte has been released, showcasing the Frank Gehry-designed Luma Arles complex as construction continues in the French town of Arles. The arts center, situated on a former SNCF rail yard, will offer exhibition, research, education, and archive space within a 46-meter-tall, aluminum tile-clad tower.
Constructed from a concrete core and steel frame, the scheme emerges from a circular glass atrium echoing the town’s Roman amphitheater. The distinctive jagged form above the atrium echoes the region’s rugged mountain ranges, with glass boxes extruding from reflective aluminum panels.
Frank Gehry's Grand Avenue towers are finally set to begin construction, over a decade after the project was initially proposed. Conceived as a public-private partnership, the towers are sited across from Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles. The project was designed from a central retail core into the two terracing towers with a mix of retail, entertainment and residences. The $1 billion complex aims to turn Grand Avenue into a full entertainment district.
Architecture, unlike other aspects of culture (such as fashion or music), can only really be experienced and understood in person. For highly branded companies, designing a new building can be a prime opportunity to signal taste and values - but also creates an interesting architectural conundrum. While the buildings will be inhabited (nearly 24/7) by company employees, they’re also very much populated by the imaginations of people across the globe. What is it like to be in these places?
This article was originally published on April 27, 2017. To read the stories behind other celebrated architecture projects, visit our AD Classics section.
Even at the Vitra Campus in Weil-am-Rhein—a collection of furniture factories, offices, showrooms, and galleries, many of which are the products of iconic architects—the Vitra Design Museum stands out as exceptional. With its sculptural form composed of interconnected curving volumes, the museum is the unmistakable work of Frank Gehry – an architect who has built a legacy for himself upon such structures. What may not be immediately apparent is the crossroads that this serene white building represents: it was in this project at the southwestern corner of Germany (close to the Swiss border) that Gehry first realized a structure in the vein of his now signature style.
If the surest sign of summer in London is the appearance of a new pavilion in front of the Serpentine Gallery, then it’s perhaps fair to say that summer is over once the pavilion is taken down. The installations have gained prominence since its inaugural edition in 2000, acting as a kind of exclusive honor and indication of talent for those chosen to present; celebrated names from the past names include Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas, and Olafur Eliasson.
Gehry Partners recently completed Facebook's new MPK 21 building in Menlo Park, California. Expanding the company's existing footprint, the design was built in less than 18 months as a highly sustainable building. Formed to bring the outdoors into the office space, the project centers on a sheltered green space with 40-foot-tall redwood trees and an amphitheater-style courtyard that connects to the original Gehry-designed MPK 20 building.
What does it mean to be a true architecture lover today? It's probably not too far off to conclude that taking pristine, Instagram-optimized photos ranks high in the assessment. With this in mind, the Fondation Louis Vuitton launched a photo contest to highlight the best photos of the building that were taken by inspired visitors and shared on social media.
Lasting for close to two decades now, the annual Serpentine Gallery Pavilion Exhibition has become one of the most anticipated architectural events in London and for the global architecture community. Each of the previous eighteen pavilions have been thought-provoking, leaving an indelible mark and strong message to the architectural community. And even though each of the past pavilions are removed from the site after their short summer stints to occupy far-flung private estates, they continue to be shared through photographs, and in architectural lectures. With the launch of the 18th Pavilion, we take a look back at all the previous pavilions and their significance to the architecturally-minded public.
In 1924 writer André Breton penned the Surrealist Manifesto, which called to destabilize the divides between dreams and reality, between objectivity and subjectivity. For many architects who had been—and continue to be—interested in the fundamental role of the built environment, Breton’s surrealist thinking provided a rich resource to examine the role architecture plays in forming reality. Since then, from Salvador Dali and Frederick Kiesler to Frank Gehry, Surrealism has profoundly shaped architecture in the 20th century.
Last week, Sel Kardan, the President and CEO of the Colburn School, announced that Frank Gehry has been selected to design a campus expansion, adjacent to its existing facilities in Downtown, Los Angeles. The expansion site, located on Grand Avenue, will become the newest neighbor to other notable projects including Diller Scofidio + Renfro's Broad Museum, Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall, Isozaki's Museum of Contemporary Art, and just a few blocks away from Moneo's Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, and Coop Himmelb(l)au's High School #9. Gehry's contribution to the school will make this area of Los Angeles one of the world’s largest sites for performing and visual arts programs.
Internationally acclaimed architect Frank Gehry (born 28 February 1929) 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.”
The Pritzker Prize is the most important award in the field of architecture, awarded to a living architect whose built work "has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity through the art of architecture." The Prize rewards individuals, not entire offices, as took place in 2000 (when the jury selected Rem Koolhaas instead of his firm OMA) or in 2016 (with Alejandro Aravena selected instead of Elemental); however, the prize can also be awarded to multiple individuals working together, as took place in 2001 (Herzog & de Meuron), 2010 (Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA), and 2017 (Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem, and Ramon Vilalta of RCR Arquitectes).
The award is an initiative funded by Jay Pritzker through the Hyatt Foundation, an organization associated with the hotel company of the same name that Jay founded with his brother Donald in 1957. The award was first given in 1979, when the American architect Philip Johnson, was awarded for his iconic works such as the Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut.
The Pritzker Prize has been awarded for almost forty straight years without interruption, and there are now 18 countries with at least one winning architect. To date, half of the winners are European; while the Americas, Asia, and Oceania share the other twenty editions. So far, no African architect has been awarded, making it the only continent without a winner.
Frank Gehry’s designs for the Extreme Model Railroad and Contemporary Architecture Museum have been revealed, and as its name implies, the museum is about to take miniature trains to the maximum.
Located on an 83,000 square foot site in North Adams, Massachusetts, just a few blocks away from contemporary art museum and artist residence Mass MoCA, the Extreme Model Railroad and Contemporary Architecture Museum looks set to become the preeminent playground for architects and model train enthusiasts alike.
New York City’s most buzzy megaproject, Hudson Yards, may have just added two more huge names to their list of notable architects, if a new report from the Wall Street Journal is to be trusted.
According to a source the WSJ describes as “a person familiar with the matter,” Santiago Calatrava and Frank Gehry will both design new residential towers for the second phase of the 28-acre complex, located at the north end of the High Line in west Manhattan.
Described as a “growth space” that will allow the company to expand their European presence, the new headquarters would span four buildings in King’s Cross Central – the same part of the city where Google is building its own 11-story “groundscraper” campus designed by BIG and Heatherwick Studios.
New renderings have been revealed of Gehry Partners’ Grand Avenue Project as construction is finally set to begin this fall. Located across from Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles, the development now known as The Grand will offer up retail, entertainment and residences within two blocky, terracing towers.
You’ve probably seen the ads. Popping out from your Facebook newsfeed, the Masterclass sales pitch immediately attracts the eye: beautifully backlit wooden models and silky hand sketching emphasized by orchestral swells are accompanied by an adorable pirouette by the one and only Frank Gehry. The combination of Gehry’s status and slick production has managed to amass over 1.6 million views for the trailer on Youtube. Even in the company of courses taught by Martin Scorsese, Deadmau5, and Samuel L Jackson, the lone architect impressively lays claim to the eighth most popular teaser in the Masterclass series. The production value alone is almost a convincing argument for the $90 USD price, a detail that is quietly left out of the trailer.
The course has been reviewed by a critic, a practicing architect, and a curator—but what of its ostensible target audience, the architecture student? Has Masterclass managed to crack the online class conundrum with cinematography and celebrity?