By Ralph MorseLIFE Photo Collection
Canadian-born architect Frank Gehry has spent more than half a century radically changing our ideas about what buildings can be. A number of his projects have become world-renowned attractions and multiple works have been cited as among the most important buildings of contemporary architecture.
Gehry doesn’t stick to a particular school of thought, having avoided labelling himself throughout his career. However the aesthetic of his buildings are often thought of as Deconstructivist – a movement in postmodern architecture which gives the impression of a fragmented building and is characterized by an absence of harmony, continuity and symmetry. Outside of this, Gehry's buildings are whimsical, daring and bold, and have been praised and criticized equally.
Here we take a virtual tour of some of Gehry’s most important works to gain an insight into the creative vision of this groundbreaking architect.
Architect & designer Frank Gehry jumping on a desk in his line of cardboard furniture by Ralph Morse, 1972 (From the collection of LIFE Photo Collection)
1. Gehry Residence, Santa Monica (USA), 1978
2. Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein (Germany), 1989
3. Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao (Spain), 1997
4. Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles (USA), 2003
5. The Rasin Building, Prague (Czech Republic), 1996
6. Binoculars Building, Los Angeles (USA), 2001
Built between 1991 and 2001, the now-called Binoculars Building was originally built for advertising agency Chiat/Day (now TBWA\Chiat\Day) as its West Coast headquarters. The building incorporates the giant binoculars sculpture into the facade, which was created by artists Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen.
The sculpture marks the entrance to the car park and pedestrian entrance. The surrounding structures form office space and resemble a ship’s prow. Numerous tenants have occupied the building since it was completed, and currently 500 employees of Google reside in the Binoculars Building.
7. Maggie’s Centre, Dundee (Scotland), 2003
8. Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle (USA), 2000
9. Art Gallery Ontario, Ontario (Canada), 2008
10. 8 Spruce Street, New York (USA), 2011
8 Spruce Street, originally known as Beekman Tower, and currently called New York by Frank Gehry, is a 76-story skyscraper designed by Gehry that took 4 years to build. Gehry was 81 when it was completed and it was his first skyscraper.
Based in Manhattan, the building is one of the tallest residential towers in the world. It contains an elementary school and above that the tower holds 898 residential rental units. The skyscraper is made from reinforced concrete which supports the metallic Deconstructivist form. Ripples run across the exterior of the building and these stainless steel pleats function as bay windows for residents. It’s striking but it’s clear Gehry respected the skyline he was adding to and sought to enhance it rather than obstruct it.