Frank Owen Gehry, CC (born Frank Owen Goldberg; February 28, 1929) is a Canadian-American Pritzker Prize-winning architect based in Los Angeles.
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”.
The tower at 8 Spruce Street in lower Manhattan which was completed in February 2011 has a stainless steel and glass exterior and is 76 stories high.
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.
Casa Danzante, Prague–Inspiration dancing couple Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers
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
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?
Parts cited from: Frank Gehry - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Mr. Wright strolling the campus with his cane but without his cape. Frank Lloyd Wright spent the last two decades of his life overseeing the largest single-site collection of his designs.
I remembered my architectural studies of Frank Lloyd Wright, (FLW) and his unusual life, when I read colleague and author PJ Sharon’s post about the windy city, Chicago. The windy city, changed by the impact of FLW, and where Paula attended Romantic Times Booklovers convention, has a collection of FLW designs, the likes of which are unsurpassed. (Look for Paula’s convention link at the end If you want to read about her experience.)
Paula’s post reminded me of FLW and his dedication to architecture. FLW, King of architecture, influenced the architectural community with his daring, his technology, his attitude. There was an irresistible charm about him. Women adored him, men admired him, architects envied him. He spoke to women’s groups telling them how to live, how to decorate, how to get out of the rut of loving dead things, things with no form. He managed to open up a new way for these women to see form. What is form? In order for form to resonate, make you feel good, it needs to have soul. Houses of the times were rigid boxes with no soul, until FLW opened them up. Victoriana had no soul, just lots and lots and lots of collections. His openness was a fresh new way to live. In his gentle way of talking to the women who listened with a passion, he said “Ornament is not about prettying the outside of something, but rather it should have balance, proportion, harmony.” All of which creates what FLW called the natural house. A house that blends with the land, a house that is designed with views to let the outside in.
Built in 1934 for Malcolm and Nancy WIlley, this Minneapolis home was restored in 2007 using cypress, plaster and regional brick.
Photo by Terrence Moore
It was abandoned for seven years, and totally disheveled, but here it is restored to its natural house form.
FLW never earned a degree. He left engineering school to apprentice in Chicago in the office of Adler and Sullivan. He learned on the job, then his opened his own practice. His belief in the natural, organic architecture, evolved from his exposure to Japanese architecture, his belief in simplicity, the nature of materials and influence of England’s Arts and Crafts Movement. He integrated these ideas of his time as he would the parts of a house, composing a symphonic whole that transcended the parts.
FLW not only did lots of buildings, but also did many wives. Frank at 69 with one of his many wives.
FLW home and studio with great gift shop
Here’s a FLW gift shop link: http://www.shopwright.org/
Do you have a FLW house or wish you had one?
Paula’s convention link: http://secretsof7scribes.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/rt-recap.
“Inspiration is fifty percent dedication and fifty percent discipline. Together they equal progress.”
I feel the earth move under my feet, I feel the sky tumbling down whenever they’re around. All those fantastic movers and shakers changing lives, changing chairs, changing toys and changing history. All those folks we have been talking about in my blogs: Queen Victoria with her long reign in the 19th century, the Bauhaus school in the early 20th century, Frank Lloyd Wright in the mid 20th century,
Steve Jobs of Apple and Pixar in the late 20th and to date only to name a few free thinkers.
Where would we be today without these creative thinkers? I suppose we would not know the difference. We can’t miss what we never knew. But we stand watch as they shake us around and push forward to new exciting innovative technology. What next?
We all subscribe to public domains to chit chat and contact others. You know: Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin. The public plays all over the internet while big brother is watching. George Orwell in his 1949 book “1984” was right about big brother. Big brother IS watching you. Orwell was a little early in his prediction. But rest assured the major minds were already working on the technology we have today.
Are we on technology overload and who is big brother? Do you believe you are being watched? How do you feel about this eye on you everyday, all day, all night? Are you participating in the public domains where everyone knows who you are? What changes have you made in your life with all the technology? Is life easier?
Sit yourself down my dear, in your favorite chair, do not fret, do not sweat, for all you cherish is beneath your seat.
Kitchen Chair 16x16x32"
The crème de la crème is from the 1988 Harry N. Abrams, Inc “397 Chairs” collection. The “Kitchen Chair” by artist Sylvia Netzer. The chair is made of steel tubes, silicon and found objects.
The almighty chair we all take for granted is not always what we expect. For the last two weeks we have discussed the talented, think-out-of-the-box, architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. His architecture reached new heights (oops, an unintended pun) of creativity and function. He designed the interior to reflect the exterior in design, use of materials and function. His seating was accommodating, but uncomfortable with its too deep seats and too stiff backs.
Dining Chair Robie House
All seating must have some pitch to the backs to allow for butt space. But not too much then you will see dangling feet. It is important when getting seating to test your best not only for pretty, but also for fitting your purpose.
Frank Lloyd Wright, Architect of Horizontality, designed this dining chair for the FLW Robie House in Hyde Park, Chicago. See what I mean by back pitch in the drawings below.
The Boynton Dining Chairs now being manufactured by Copeland were designed for the E. E. Boynton House in Rochester, New York. Mr. Boynton wanted comfortable seating for his guests, so Wright designed a chair back with a compound curve in it that would support a person’s shoulders and give lumbar support for the lower back. Lacking the technology to actually create the compound curved panel, the design was relegated to Wright’s archives for the last 100 years.
Let’s take a last long look at a really comfortable chair. The good old Club Chair.
With James permission here he is in his fav chair…James Kaston, of Remains Lighting, NYC with his cat, Pinky, in his antiques-filled apartment in Stuyvesant Town. Besides his Pinky, the cat who has gone on to pinky heaven, James loves his Napoleon III chair. Can you see enough to get the idea of comfort for your weary soul, pardon, I mean seat?
Have you experienced seating that you can’t wait to get out of and run away as fast as you can? Like, how many of you sit and relax at White Castle, like our stockbroker friend who couldn’t fit?
Until next week…more U-know…wrapped around another story.
Fallingwater Fireplace in Living Room section
If you are reading this, you are probably curious about Frank Lloyd Wright Interiors.
FLW was not a singer songwriter, he was not a shoemaker, he was not slothful, and he was not an interior designer. FLW was a creative genius in architectural methodology and an engineer. He knew he was an architect and engineer, but he also thought he was a designer of interiors and furniture maker. Fallingwater is a prime example of Wright’s
concept of organic architecture, “promoting harmony between man and nature through a design integrated with its site buildings, furnishings and surroundings as part of a unified, interrelated composition.”
His large sitting room at Fallingwater could have had several “conversation groupings.” There is ample bench-like seating that is designed for lots of people sitting side-by-side.FLW lined up the seating all around the perimeter of the room. Unless you are sitting with your sweetheart and holding hands, it is difficult to sit right next to someone and hold a conversation. The best seating is to group conversation areas so folks are sitting across from one another.
When last I visited his magnificent Fallingwater I found it curious there was no seating at the fireplace. The fireplace is a perfect conversation area, but the rock ledge he designed and installed is in the way.
Lined up sitting
The windows are behind the seating. It would be difficult to enjoy the view. A view or fireplace are natural focal points to group seating. Neither the view nor the fireplace was considered.
Fallingwater is the ultimate realization of his vision of man living in harmony with nature. Walls of glass enhance the site-and-house connection. But what about the functional connection for those using the space? He argued with his client about design and money. Instead of an agreed budget of $50,000 max, the cost escalated to $155,000.
Keep posted for a look at more of Wright’s ideas.
My history blog on chairs to be continued… I digress to share this amazing country house with you.*
Most of you know I am an ardent lover of architecture and enjoy writing, viewing and speaking architecture.
I would hope you might enjoy this story and perhaps experience the recently restored country retreat, two hours out from Pittsburgh, in Bear Run, PA. The retreat was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, (FLW), and built for his client Edgar J. Kaufmann between 1936 and 1939. Fallingwater instantly became famous, and today it is a National Historic Landmark.
The Kaufmann family summer camp home was a small cabin with no heat and no running water. They slept outdoors in screened porches. The cabin stood near a country road. When traffic became noisy after the road was paved, the Kaufmanns decided it was time to build a more modern vacation house.
Frank Lloyd Wright
They turned to FLW to design it for them. At the time, their son was fascinated with Wright’s ideas and was studying with him at Wright’s school, the Taliesin Fellowship.
The Kaufmanns, who had recently become interested in modern art and design, also were intrigued by Wright’s ideas, and asked him to design a new vacation house. They knew that Wright loved nature, as they did, and Wright knew the Kaufmanns wanted something special at Bear Run, something only an innovative architect like himself could design. He knew they loved the waterfall. He decided to make it part of the new house.
When the Kaufmanns first looked at Wright’s drawings, they were surprised! They thought their new house would have a wonderful view of the falls. But instead, with the house right on top of the falls, it was difficult to even see them. Frank Lloyd Wright told the family he wants them to live with the waterfall and not just to look at them now and then.**
Edgar J. Kaufmann Sr., the owner of the land, worked with Frank Lloyd Wright, and often had volatile synergy between them as they made their contributions to the creation of the most celebrated house in American History. The design and construction was challenging causing turbulence between the two.
Americans spend 90 percent of their time indoors, working, living, shopping. What do you think about shelter? Shelter that provides environments for your lifestyle?
To be continued…next week.
In the meantime…Fallingwater remains the residential treasure of our time, and it awaits and welcomes those who wish to see and enjoy its magnificence. It is the most complete work of Frank Lloyd Wright accessible for viewing. Fallingwater is available to the public today because of the excellent maintenance, preservation, and operation by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, (WPC) and it awaits your experience and enjoyment. For information go to www.paconserve.org or call toll-free 1-866-564-6972.
*AIArchitects Online Magazine