His buildings, including his private residence, have become tourist attractions. His works are cited as being among the most important works of contemporary architecture in the 2010 World Architecture Survey, which led Vanity Fair to label him as “the most important architect of our age”.
Gehry’s best-known works include the titanium-covered Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, photo above; MIT Ray and Maria Stata Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts; Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles; Experience Music Project in Seattle; Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis; Dancing House in Prague; the Vitra Design Museum and the museum MARTa Herford in Germany; the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto; the Cinémathèque française in Paris; and 8 Spruce Street in New York City. But it was his private residence in Santa Monica, California, that jump-started his career, lifting it from the status of “paper architecture”—a phenomenon that 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 is also the designer of the future Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial.
Much of Gehry’s work falls within the style of Deconstructivism, which 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, Deconstructivist 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.
Reception of Gehry’s work is not always positive. Art historian Hal Foster reads Gehry’s architecture as, primarily, in the service of corporate branding. Criticism of his work includes complaints that the buildings waste structural resources by creating functionless forms, do not seem to belong in their surroundings and are apparently designed without accounting for the local climate.
Reasoning has it his work is about possibilities… Form follows function is one of the long-standing slogans of modern architecture. Its use was pioneered by turn-of-the-century skyscraper architect Louis Sullivan, complemented by Adolf Loos’s 1908 assertion that ‘Ornament is crime’, adapted by Frank Lloyd Wright and adopted by Modernists and Bauhaus desginers such as Mies van der Rohe (‘Less is more’), Walter Groupius, etc. Originally meant to be defiantly honest – let the form of a building or product result from its function and no more – and anti-style, it eventually evolved into yet another set of un-interrogated conventions, and is now being both challenged and re-worked. Clearly seen in Gehry’s work.
Marques de Riscal winery is the oldest and most traditional of the Rioja.
Architecture students the world over are inspired by Gehry’s work. His work is think-out-of-the-box philosophy.
Does Gehry’s work inspire your thoughts to change the world in some way? Think also of Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, so many others. How will you change the way we think, make the world a better place? Are you a mover, a shaker?