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Pritzker Prize winning architect Frank Gehry pictures (pic) and photo gallery.
Ephraim Owen Goldberg
February 28, 1929 Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Frank Gehry biography (bio):
His buildings, including his private residence, have become tourist attractions. Many museums, companies, and cities seek Gehry's services as a badge of distinction, beyond the product he delivers.
His best known works include the titanium-covered Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles, Dancing House in Prague, Czech Republic, and his private residence in Santa Monica, California, which jump-started his career, lifting it from the status of "paper architecture", a phenomenon which many famous architects have experienced in their formative decades through experimentation almost exclusively on paper before receiving their first major commission in later years.
Gehry was born into a Jewish family in Toronto, Ontario. A creative child, he was encouraged by his grandmother, with whom he would build little cities out of scraps of wood. It should be noted, also, that Frank Gehry's grandmother, Caplan, had influenced him in other ways. As a child, he would observe his grandmother every Thursday putting a live carp in a bathtub full of water to later make gefilte fish. Frank would observe the movement and form of these fish, which later would be an enormous influence and underlying theme in much of his work.
In 1947 Gehry moved to California, got a job driving a delivery truck, and studied at Los Angeles City College, eventually to graduate from the University of Southern California's School of Architecture.
After graduation from USC in 1954, he spent time away from the field of architecture in numerous other jobs, including service in the U.S. Army. He studied city planning at the Harvard Graduate School of Design for a year, leaving before completing the program.
Still known as Frank Goldberg, he married Anita Snyder, who he claims was the one who told him change his name, which he did, to Frank Gehry. Divorcing Snyder in the mid-1960s, he married Berta, his current wife, in the mid-1970s. He has two daughters from his first marriage, and two sons from his second marriage.
Having grown up in Canada, Gehry is a huge fan of hockey. He began a hockey league in his office, though he no longer plays with them. In 2004, he designed the trophy for the World Cup of Hockey.
He has been seeing the psychoanalyst Milton Wexler for over 35 years. Exceptionally, Gehry allows Wexler to give comments to the press about him. Gehry holds dual citizenship in the United States and Canada. He lives in Santa Monica, California, continuing to practice out of Los Angeles.
The Gehry Residence is Frank Gehry's own house. It was originally an extension, designed by Gehry built around an existing house. It makes use of unconventional materials, such as chain link fence and corrugated steel. It is sometimes considered one of the earliest deconstructivist buildings, although Gehry himself denies that it was deconstructivism.
The Gehry Residence is located in Santa Monica, California. In 1977 Frank and Berta Gehry bought a pink dutch colonial that was originally built in 1920. Gehry wanted to explore with the materials he was already using: metal, plywood, chain link fencing, and wood framing. He chose to wrap the outside of the house with a new exterior while still leaving the old exterior visible. He hardly touched the rear and south facades and to the other sides of the house he wedged in titled glass cubes. Then, in the fall of 1991, they chose to remodel due to the needs of their growing family including two teenage boys.
Many of Gehry's neighbours were not happy at the unusual building being built in their neighbourhood. It's rumoured that one neighbour used to regularly bring his dog to defecate on Gehry's lawn, in protest.
The warped forms of Frank Gehry's structures are classified sometimes as being of the deconstructivist, or "DeCon" school of postmodernist architecture, whether or not he consciously holds such inclinations. Gehry himself disavows any association with the movement and claims no formal alliance to any particular architectural movement in general.
The DeCon movement stems from a series of discussions between French philosopher Jaques Derrida and architect Peter Eisenman in which they question the utility of commonly accepted notions of structure alone in being able to define and communicate a meaning or truth about a creator's intended definition (a definition of space in architecture, for example), and counterposes our preconceived notions of structure with its undoing; the deconstruction of that very same preconception of space and structure. It is in this criticism or deconstruction of a given construct, in this case, a structure, that architecture finds its justification or its "place of presence".
In that sense, DeCon is often referred to as post-structuralist in nature for its ability to go beyond current modalities of structural definition. In architecture, its application tends to depart from modernism in its inherent criticism of culturally inherited givens such as societal goals and functional necessity. Because of this, unlike early modernist structures, DeCon structures are not required to reflect specific social or universal ideas, such as speed or universality of form, and they do not reflect a belief that form follows function. Gehry's own Santa Monica residence is a commonly cited example of deconstructivist architecture as it was so drastically divorced from its original context, and in such a manner, as to subvert its original spatial intention.
Gehry is sometimes associated with what is known as the "Los Angeles School", or the "Santa Monica School" of architecture. The appropriateness of this designation and the existence of such a school, however, remains controversial due to the lack of a unifying philosophy or theory. This designation stems from the Los Angeles area producing a group of the most influential postmodern architects, including such notable Gehry contemporaries as Eric Owen Moss and Pritzker Prize-winner Thom Mayne of Morphosis, as well as the famous schools of architecture at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (co-founded by Thom Mayne), UCLA, and the USC.
Gehry spent many years working in traditional architecture; he worked for the firms Pereira and Luckman, Victor Gruen Associates, and Andre Remondet. In 1967, he created his own firm, Frank O. Gehry and Associates.
According to the Gehry documentary, his work was primarily expressed in traditional architecture for many years. He experienced financial difficulties during much of his firm's early days. He expressed creativity in his own home, the Gehry Residence, which he used as a creative launch pad, playing with shapes and textures. Gehry had an epiphany when a guest at his house asked why he was so creative with his home, but so reserved and traditional in the execution of his work. Gehry decided to take his work in a new direction.
The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao work is perceived to be Gehry's most iconic and representative work, and was a culmination of Gehry's new directions and experimentation with surfaces and shapes.
With the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Gehry gained a reputation for building on time and budget in a business where delays and cost overruns are common. Ironically, his Walt Disney Concert Hall is often regarded as a "copy" of Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, despite the fact that it was actually designed years before the Guggenheim Bilbao was. It was cost-delays and a lack of funding, not of Gehry's doing, that prevented Walt Disney Concert Hall from being completed on time. In an interview in Harvard Design Magazine, Gehry explained three things he does to keep his projects on time and budget. First, he ensures that what he calls the "organization of the artist" will prevail during construction, in order to prevent political and business interests from interfering with design and thus achieve a result as close as possible to the original design drawings. Secondly, he makes sure he has a detailed and realistic cost estimate before proceeding with a building. Thirdly, he maintains a close relationship with area builders to ensure projected costs are met.
His privately-developed Gehry Technologies adapts and employs CATIA, a parametric modelling and analysis software originally designed for the aerospace and auto industries by Dassault Systems of France. CATIA streamlines not only the engineering aspects of architecture, but also broader project management to drastically reduce the costs associated with the traditional top-down organizational approach, while enabling the architect to create heretofore physically unconceivable structural frameworks, such as those of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Guggenheim Bilbao, or the Dancing House project in Prague.
Frank Gehry also designed a wrist watch, marketed by Fossil. Instead of a standard clock face, Gehry's watch displays a digital text of the way a person might speak the time aloud. For instance, if the time were 1:54 P.M., it would read "6 'til 2"; or at 12:30 A.M., it would read "half-past midnight". In 2004, Gehry designed a bottle for Wyborowa Vodka. He has also designed jewelry for Tiffany & Co, signifying his unique departure from mainstream architectural practice in his willingness to participate in other artistic endeavours as well.
Gehry has, in recent works, made an attempt to move away from titanium surfaces, and admirers and critics alike are waiting to see whether Gehry is able to produce equally compelling forms in a different idiom. Gehry is working with different textures and lighting, incorporating these into the framework of his usual approach. He is incorporating these ideas in new projects, including a small office complex on the West Side of Manhattan.
Gehry is currently working on the Barclays Center, the new NBA arena for the New Jersey Nets. Located in Brooklyn, New York, it is planned to open by 2010. It will seat about 18,000 people.
Practice name: Gehry Partners, LLP
Significant buildings: Guggenheim Museum, Art Gallery of Ontario, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Gehry Residence, Weisman Art Museum, Dancing House.
Awards and prizes:
-AIA Gold Medal.
-National Medal of Arts.
-Order of Canada.