Living in the Age of Gehryism

Ask the world’s best-known architects and architectural critics to name the most significant works of architecture of the last 30 years… Well, no surprise here… an overwhelming majority will most certainly cite, Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao  !

Not just a ‘starchitect’!

A recipient of both the Priktzer Prize(think Nobel Prize for architecture) and the AIA Gold Medal, the Canadian-American architect and designer, Frank Gehry is one of the most iconic architects of our time. This fascinating yet enigmatic personality, known to initiate the design process with a scrunched-up sheet of paper, has earned his eminent position in the pantheon of contemporary architects with his most spectacular design to date in Bilbao, Spain. “Gehry is an innovator who came from outside the Establishment, an architect against the grain whose sheer genius pulled him to the red-hot center of his art,” observed the revered Frank Lloyd Wright, the creator of the original iconoclastic museum, the Guggenheim in New York City.

Adored and hated at the same time, Frank Ghery’s work has elicited controversy from  the start. His fans might hail his spectacular sculptural buildings as masterworks, traditional modernists and other opponents, however, consider his work arbitrary or gratuitously eccentric.

Regardless of criticism, Frank Gehry, is truly “Starchitect”– an inevitable fate for an architect with such radical visibility. The Simpsons fans will recognize him from cameo appearances in episodes of America’s favorite yellow family sitcom – its creators are clearly smitten! Could it be Ghery’s animated walls?

Master of Deconstructivism

Gehry’s “deconstructivist-style” – an architectural movement that encourages radical freedom of form, has been shaping the international architectural landscape now for several decades. As if by magic,he uses sculptural forms that almost defy all rules of logic and symmetry as he creates a building. Some of his most notable accomplishments include: the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Weisman Museum in Minneapolis, the Nationale Nederlanden Building in Prague, Manhattan’s Beekman Tower as well as the Biomuseo in Panama City.

Despite his intensely hectic career, the world’s most famous living architect shows no sign of slowing down. At 86, his latest creation La Foundation Louis Vuitton,  inaugurated only last year in Paris, offers a fresh example of his genius! Frank is undeniably unstoppable! Constantly fueled by his passion for ever greater challenges, his next venture is to conceive a masterplan for revitalizing the Los Angeles River in California.

When questioned about his retirement, the venerable Gehry retorts: “I’m too young!” But one thing is for sure, the bar he is setting for the new generation of architects is a long, long reach…

Are you impressed by Frank O. Gehry’s designs? Post your comments below!

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