It’s not often the case that architects grow to become household names. But Frank Gehry has never lived by any common practice. The award-winning architect has spent more than a half-century disrupting the very meaning of design within architecture. From the iconic Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (which Philip Johnson called “the greatest building of our time”) to the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, Gehry has proven time and again the force that’s produced when the whimsical design is done masterfully.
Born in Canada in 1929, Gehry attended the University of Southern California and the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He began his career in Los Angeles working for Victor Gruen Associates and Pereira and Luckman. After a brief stint in Paris working with Andre Remondet, he returned to California and started his own firm in 1962. Gehry was awarded the Pritzker Prize in 1989. A man with seemingly no limits, there is no bad time to celebrate Gehry’s oeuvre.
Discover these amazing buildings devised by the Pritzker Prize-winning architect over the past five decades.
Frank Gehry’s Design Philosophy
A visitor describes it as ”almost unreal,” another one as a life-transforming experience. For some, it’s not possible to describe the emotion of the space. This building is Frank Gehry‘s Guggenheim Museum, which has not only transformed people, but also the city, by contributing to the redevelopment of Bilbao, Spain.
How does Gehry create these unique experiences? Architects design with a set of values that guide the way they make architecture. Their core beliefs define their design concepts, methods, and processes, which is called design philosophy.
So, what is Gehry’s design philosophy? Let’s see.
Frank Gehry: Website
#1 Dancing House, Prague, Czech Republic
Nicknamed Fred and Ginger, after dancers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, by Gehry himself. Made of 99 concrete panels, each differently shaped, the structure’s front facade juts out as if it were made of two entwined human figures. In 1996, its construction was controversial, as the building doesn’t fit among the Baroque, Gothic, and Art Nouveau for which Prague is known.
#2 Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles
It took over 15 years from the start of the Walt Disney Concert Hall project to its completion. When it was finished back in 2003, the final project cost was estimated to be $274 million. Yet critics and locals agree – it was worth the wait and the money. A monument of modern architecture created what has become an essential part of the city. And if you’re wondering what the inspiration behind something grand like this, it’s the wind. Gehry’s a passionate sailor, therefore the building looks as if it is in motion.
#3 Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis
An abstract piece of art. Yet we’re not talking about Jackson Pollock’s canvases, but about an entire building. This eye-catching construction is part of the University of Minnesota’s campus and its significance is measured not only by its looks but by the fact that it was built before using computers became an unquestionable tool in the field of architecture.
#4 Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain
Even though It looks like something where Ice King from Adventure Time would live in if he had a house in Spain, Guggenheim Bilbao serves a big purpose – it’s a museum of modern and contemporary art which in itself is a piece of art. Named as one of the most important works of architecture in the last decades by numerous experts, this building has many reasons why it’s unique. This construction was so successful and well acclaimed that it started attracting tourists to the city of Bilbao. Lots of tourists. During the first 12 months since the museum opened, tourists generated $160 million for the local economy. This building basically revived an entire city. This economical phenomenon even received a name – the Bilbao Effect.
#5 Cinémathèque Française, Paris
If movies, as an art form, had an address, it would be 21 Rue de Bercy, Paris. It’s here, where one of the world’s largest collection of movie-related objects is based. And of course, it was designed by Frank Gehry.
#6 New York by Gehry, New York City
New York by Gehry is an 899-unit residential apartment building that also includes a pre-K to grade 8 public school, an ambulatory care center, retail space, and parking on the lower levels.
This skyscraper marked a new era of residential towers in New York City. At 76 stories, it was one of the tallest residential buildings in the world when it opened, rising above downtown landmarks like the Woolworth Building as a symbol of the rebirth of Lower Manhattan.
#7 Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle, Washington
This massive construction looks like it’s melting under Seattle’s mellow sun, yet it’s far from that. This sheet-metal covered structure was inspired by the rock music and the energy that it embodies. Gehry even admitted that the preparations included buying and putting together guitar pieces in order to create a form that would inspire the soon-to-be the museum of pop culture.
#8 Lou Ruvo Center, Las Vegas
The Lou Ruvo Center operates as an outpatient treatment and research facility in downtown Las Vegas on land deeded to Keep Memory Alive, the fund raising arm of LRCBH, by the City of Las Vegas as part of its Symphony Park. The Center is approximately 65,000-square-feet and includes 13 examination rooms, offices for health care practitioners and researchers, a “Museum of the Mind” and a community auditorium.
#9 Peter B. Lewis Building, Cleveland, Ohio
Since its construction in 2002, the Peter B. Lewis Building has housed the Weatherhead School of Management at Cleveland’s Case Western Reserve University. The building exterior is classic Gehry, with ribbons of stainless steel unfurling from a brick base. The open interior is meant to encourage cross-disciplinary socializing.
#10 Gehry Tower, Hanover, Germany
Gehry Tower is a nine-story building that was commissioned by the city-owned Hanover Transport Services (üstra), for whom Gehry also designed a bus stop in the city.