Frank Gehry A Modern Architectural Icon

Reflective Metal

Frank Gehry

Frank Gehry, a modern architectural icon and celebrity is best known for building curvaceous structures, often covered with reflective metal. Most of the time the architect has been surrounded with controversy due to its unexpected, playful and twisted designs that break conventions of building designs. The architect once said: "I approach each building as a sculptural object, a spatial container, a space with light and air, a response to context and appropriateness of feeling and spirit. To this container, this sculpture, the user brings his baggage, his program, and interacts with it to accommodate his needs. If he can't do that, I've failed"— from the 1980 edition of "Contemporary Architects."

Born in Toronto, Canada, Gehry moved with his family to Los Angeles in 1947. 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. In subsequent years, Gehry has built an architectural career that has spanned five decades and produced public and private buildings in America, Europe and Asia. Hallmarks of Gehry's work include a particular concern that people exist comfortably within the spaces that he creates, and an insistence that his buildings address the context and culture of their sites and the budgets of his clients.

Architectural Firm

Gehry Partners, LLP

Gehry Partners, LLP is a full service architectural firm with extensive international experience in the design and construction of academic, museum, theater, performance, commercial, and master planning projects. Founded in 1962 and located in Los Angeles, California, Gehry Partners currently has a staff of approximately 115 people.

Over the years, Gehry has moved away from a conventional commercial practice to an artistically directed atelier. His deconstructed architectural style began to emerge in the late 1970s when Gehry, directed by a personal vision of architecture, created collage-like compositions out of found materials. Instead of creating buildings, Gehry creates ad-hoc pieces of functional sculpture. His architecture has undergone a marked evolution from corrugated-metal vernacular of his early works to the distorted but pristine concrete of his later works. However, the works retain a deconstructed aesthetic that fits well with the increasingly disjointed culture to which they belong.

Every project undertaken by Gehry Partners is designed personally and directly by Frank Gehry, and supported by the vast resources of the firm and the extensive experience of the firm's senior partners and staff. At any given time, the partnership has as many as 25 projects in various stages of development from design through construction, which vary in size from the large scale Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum in the United Arab Emirates to projects as small as the temporary pavilion for the Serpentine Gallery in London.  The work of Gehry Partners has been featured widely in national and international newspapers and magazines, and has been exhibited in major museums throughout the world.

Awards & Recognition

Jay Pritzker Pavilion Chicago

His work has earned several of the most significant awards in the architectural field. Some of them are mention here: He was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects in 1974, and his buildings have received over 100 national and regional A.I.A. awards. In 1977, Mr. Gehry was named recipient of the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize in Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 1989, he was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize, perhaps the premiere accolade of the field, honoring "significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture." In 1992, received the Wolf Prize in Art (Architecture) from the Wolf Foundation. In the same year, he was named the recipient of the Praemium Imperiale Award by the Japan Art Association to "honor outstanding contributions to the development, popularization, and progress of the arts." In 1994, he became the first recipient of the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Award for lifetime contribution to the arts. In 1998, he received the National Medal of Arts, and became the first recipient of the Friedrich Kiesler Prize. In 1999, he received the Lotos Medal of Merit from the Lotos Club, and also received the Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architects. In 2000, Mr. Gehry was conferred with Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects, and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Americans for the Arts. In 2002, he was bestowed with Gold Medal for Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2003, inducted into the European Academy of Sciences and Arts and was designated as a Companion to the Order of Canada. In 2005, he received the Ordre National de Legion d'honneur Chevalier from the French Government. In 2006, he was a first year inductee into the California Hall of Fame and in 2008 received the Golden Lion Lifetime Achievement Award at the Venice Biennale. Mr. Gehry has received honorary doctoral degrees from Occidental College, Whittier College, the California College of Arts and Crafts, the Technical University of Nova Scotia, the Rhode Island School of Design, the California Institute of Arts, the Southern California Institute of Architecture, the Otis Art Institute at the Parsons School of Design, the University of Toronto, the University of Southern California, Yale University, Harvard University, and the University of Edinburgh. Mr. Gehry has held teaching positions at some of the world's most prestigious institutions including Harvard University, University of Southern California, University of California Los Angeles, Sci-Arc, University of Toronto, Columbia University, the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, and at Yale University where he still teaches today.

Prestigious Projects

Gehry's some of the best-known works include: the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain; the DZ Bank Building in Berlin; Nationale-Nederlanden Building in Prague; the Jay Pritzker Pavilion and BP Bridge in Millennium Park in Chicago, Illinois; Maggie's Centre, a cancer patient center in Dundee, Scotland; Hotel Marques de Riscal in El Ciego, Spain; Lou Ruvo Brain Institute in Las Vegas, Nevada; Princeton University Peter B. Lewis Science Library in Princeton, New Jersey; Art Gallery of Ontario Renovation in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California.

Some of his prestigious projects under construction include the Signature Theatre in New York City; the New World Symphony in Miami, Florida; the Beekman Residential Tower located in New York City; the Make it Right Foundation in New Orleans, Louisiana and the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum in Biloxi, Mississippi. Mr. Gehry is also completing design work on the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi; Foundation Louis Vuitton Museum in Paris, France; LUMA Foundation in Arles, France and the University of Technology, Sydney in Sydney, Australia.