“You are not going to call me a […] ‘star-chitect’? I hate that.”
Trough his unique, modern designs, the 85-year-old Gehry has become an icon of current architecture. Gehry continues to be among the most acclaimed architects of the 20th century, and due to his celebrity status, he has been referred to as a “starchitect”—a label that Gehry rejects.
Frank Gehry was born Ephraim Owen Goldberg in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1929. He received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Southern California in 1954, and studied City Planning at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.
Gehry, based in Los Angeles since the 1960s, built an architectural career that has spanned four decades, producing public and private buildings in America, Europe, and Asia.
His buildings, known for his unexpected, twisted forms, have become world renowned tourist attractions.
His work has been called radical, playful, organic, and sensual. Against the cold and often formulaic Modernist buildings that had begun to dot many cityscapes, Gehry began to experiment with cutting-edge computer technology to realize shapes and forms of unimaginable complexity.
Gehry’s work emphasizes the art of architecture, directed by a personal vision of architecture, created collage of functional sculpture.
Though much of Gehry’s work has been well-received, reception of Gehry’s work is not always positive. Traditional modernists criticized his buildings as functionless, unfinished, arbitrary, designed without belonging in their surroundings or eccentric, unknown in “serious” architecture.
His international reputation was confirmed when he received the world’s most prestigious architecture award ,the Pritzker Prize (1989) and numerous prestigious architecture & design awards, including American Institute of Architects Gold Medal (1999) and the Royal Institute of British Architects Gold Medal (2000).
“His designs, if compared to American music, could best be likened to Jazz, replete with improvisation and a lively unpredictable spirit.
His buildings are juxtaposed collages of spaces and materials that make users appreciative of both the theatre and the back-stage, simultaneously revealed.
He takes chances; he works close to the edge; he pushes boundaries beyond previous limits. There are times when he misses the mark, and times when the breakthrough achieved alters everyone else’s vision as well. And he believes, as most architects do, that it is always the next project that will realize his aims and ideals his own.
For Frank Gehry, these explorations characteristically take place at the point where architecture and sculpture meet in anxious and uneasy confrontation; this is the difficult, dangerous and uncharted area that he has made his own.
Gehry’s work takes architecture a significant step farther as an evolving, challenging and creative art.
He practices architecture in the most timeless and sophisticated sense, but with a very special spin.
The spin is that Gehry’s work goes to the heart of the art of our time, carrying the conceptual and technological achievements of modernism (as real and instructive as its much better-publicized failures) to the spectacularly enriched vision that characterizes the 1990s.
He pushes the modern miracle of radically redefined structure and space into sudden bursts of “pure” form—a surprising exterior stair, a sky-lit room that offers as much abstract art as illumination in its crowning construction.
As an alchemist of sorts, constantly changing dross into something less than gold but much more than common aluminum, Gehry professes to be unsure of what is ugly and what is beautiful. It is irrelevant; he uses the everyday and ever-present stuff of the expedient and low-cost construction of our immediate environment for surprising aesthetic revelations and unexpected elegance. The cultural references of these materials are as strong as the structural and aesthetic rationale …” [Pritzker Prize]
[photos: Architales on Pinterest]