Architecture To Remember - 11 Iconic Frank Gehry Buildings
As one of the most celebrated architects today, Frank Gehry has influenced the world of arts and architecture immensely throughout his career spanning over six decades. He has planned and built awe-inspiring structures since the early 1960s, becoming a household name.
Using imaginative designs and materials, Frank Gehry architecture has reshaped the urban landscape forever. Celebrated for his bold architectural features and unusual shapes, his designs are truly monumental works of art.
While each of Frank Gehry buildings is unique, there are some defining features that make his architecture instantly recognizable. His style is considered deconstructivist, a movement in postmodern architecture where elements of the design appear to be fragmented. His architecture is typically characterized by flowing lines, and surfaces that vary from titanium cladding to metal Blobitectural modular parts.
Gehry often uses corrugated metals which give his designs an unfinished appearance. While being experimental and transformative, Gehry’s buildings always respond to the context of their area.
Without further ado, we present some of the most iconic Frank Gehry buildings!
From Pulitzer Prize–winning architectural critic Paul Goldberger: an engaging, nuanced exploration of the life and work of Frank Gehry, undoubtedly the most famous architect of our time. This first full-fledged critical biography presents and evaluates the work of a man who has almost single-handedly transformed contemporary architecture in his innovative use of materials, design, and form, and who is among the very few architects in history to be both respected by critics as a creative, cutting-edge force and embraced by the general public as a popular figure.
Featured image: Weisman Art Museum by Frank Gehry, via kkmarais.
Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
Set on the edge of the Nervión River in Bilbao, Spain, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao represents a magnificent example of the most groundbreaking 20th-century architecture.
Invited by the museum’s director Thomas Krens, Gehry was encouraged to design something daring and innovative. The resulting building became an architectural landmark of audacious configuration and groundbreaking design, providing a seductive backdrop for the art exhibited in it.
The building is a fusion of complex, swirling forms and captivating materiality, responding to both its purpose and urban context. As Gehry explained, the randomness of the exterior curves were designed to catch the light. The interior is designed around a large, light-filled atrium, nicknamed The Flower due to its shape, with views of Bilbao’s estuary and the surrounding hills of the Basque country.
Featured images: Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, via Wikipedia.
Walt Disney Concert Hall
Located in downtown Los Angeles, the Walt Disney Concert Hall is celebrated for both its excellent acoustics and distinctive architecture, characterized by sweeping, metallic surfaces. Gehry has been redesigning the building for more than a decade, while unexpected delays postponed construction. It was finally completed on October 23rd, 2003.
The building’s exterior is made of the curving stainless steel skin which resembles silver sails and engages light as an architectural medium, while the interior features a transparent, light-filled lobby and the tightly enclosed foyer of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
In order to hone the hall’s sound through spatial and material means, Gehry collaborated with the acoustical consultant, Yasuhisa Toyota. The garden features a rose fountain dedicated to Lillian Disney, who provided the initial donation for the Concert Hall, constructed from broken pieces of Delft China, Lillian’s favorite.
Featured image: Walt Disney Concert Hall, image via Wikipedia.
Fondation Louis Vuitton
A private modern and contemporary art center and museum in Paris, Fondation Louis Vuitton is celebrated for its dynamic forms and vessel-like appearance. Opened to the public on October 27th, 2014, it responds to the setting of the Jardin d’Acclimatation, in which it is located, evoking the tradition of 19th-century glass garden buildings.
The exterior of the building comprises an assemblage of white blocks clad in panels of fiber-reinforced concrete, surrounded by twelve immense glass “sails” supported by wooden beams. These sails provide transparency and a sense of movement while allowing the building to reflect the water, woods and garden and continually change with the light. As visitors move through the building, the large expanses of glass provide picturesque views of the gardens.
The Dancing House in Prague is characterized by a very non-traditional design that was controversial at the time, since it stands out among the Baroque, Gothic and Art Nouveau buildings for which the city is famous. It was designed in 1992 in collaboration with the Croatian-Czech architect Vlado Milunić and was completed four years later in 1996.
Due to its unusual “dancing” shape, which is supported by 99 concrete panels of different sizes and shapes, the building is known as deconstructivist. Milunić and Ghery described it as New-Baroque. The top of the building features a large twisted structure of metal nicknamed “Medusa”. It has two central bodies – a tower of glass supported by curved pillars and the building characterized by the moldings that follow a wavy motion.
Featured images: Dancing House, via Wikipedia and Matteo Piotto.
Weisman Art Museum
Located at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Weisman Art Museum moved into its current building designed by Gehry in 1993. One of the major landmarks in the city, this unusual abstract structure is considered highly significant because it was built prior to the widespread use of computer-aided design in architecture.
The exterior of the building boasts a stainless steel façade of Cubist-like shapes that recall the fractured face of the cliff below, with the hand-drawn construction documents laying out each piece of the metal skin like dressmaker’s patterns. The interior spaces of the museum are large and airy and are comprised of two distinct areas: West Zone intended to services and the East Zone dedicated exclusively to permanent exhibition galleries.
Featured images: Weisman Art Museum, via Wikipedia.
Museum of Pop Culture
A nonprofit museum dedicated to contemporary popular culture, Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle is a 140,000-square-foot building of shimmering sheet metal that resembles a smashed electric guitar. A fusion of textures and myriad colors, it is called “the Blob” by locals.
The exterior is comprised of three-thousand panels made up of 21 thousand individually cut and shaped stainless steel and painted aluminum shingles. Responding to different light conditions, they appear to change when viewed from different angles. The hot pink, gold, and cream-colored metallic panels are designed to resemble a smashed electric guitar, and even envelope a monorail track that passes through the structure. The building was received with mixed reviews. ThenNew York Times architecture critic Herbert Muschamp described it as “something that crawled out of the sea, rolled over, and died.”
Featured image: Museum of Pop Culture, via Wikipedia and Neerav Bhatt.
New York by Gehry
Gehry’s first residential commission in New York City, New York by Gehry is a stunning vision of architecture and luxury in the city’s Financial District. This 76-story 870 foot skyscraper formally opened in 2011, becoming the tallest residential building in the Western Hemisphere and the first-ever designed by Gehry.
Located within the Lower Manhattan skyline, the building has a recognizable facade of stainless steel cladding. Its unmistakably undulating, asymmetrical look comes from a stainless steel curtain-wall with glass panels, evoking shiny, draped fabric inspired by the work of 17th century Italian sculptor Gianlorenzo Bernini. The façade softly reflects ambient colors from neighboring buildings and the East River.
Featured images: New York by Gehry, via Wikipedia.
A nine-story building located in Hannover, Gehry Tower is celebrated for its twisted design and its stainless steel facade. Built between 1999 and 2001, it was commissioned by the city-owned Hanover Transport Services.
Constructed of stainless steel, the tower is celebrated for the noticeable twist in its outer façade on a ferroconcrete core, making optimal use of the relatively small piece of ground on which it is located. The architect used the most modern technology available at the time, first creating a 1:100 model, which was then scanned and imported into CAD software to be able to compute the dimensions for the individual parts.
Featured images: Gehry Tower, via jaime.silva.
Lou Ruvo Center
Another deconstructive approach towards architecture, the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas is draped and wrapped with a mountainous metal-clad skin, faced in shingled panels and punctured with a grid of windows. The architect agreed to design the building when Ruvo stretched the research mandate to include Huntington’s disease, which Gehry has long championed.
The building is comprised of two wings connected by an open courtyard: a dedicated research center a ‘for-hire’ event space, dubbed the life activity center, located at the southern end. On the inside, Gehry created an environment that doesn’t evoke a medical setting. He created curved passages and carefully tailored sightlines that limit interaction between patients in different stages of the disease
Featured images: Lou Ruvo Center, via Wikipedia and time anchor.
Richard B. Fisher Center
A performance hall located in the Hudson Valley, Richard B. Fisher Center is nestled amongst the foothills of the Catskill Mountains. Completed in 2003, the design has resulted in a truly multifunctional performing arts center, featuring two theaters, the 900-seat Sosnoff Theater, and the 200-seat Theater Two, united by a series of interconnected and overlapping canopies of brushed stainless steel.
The structure is covered in stainless steel clads the entire surface, creating muted tones and ambiently reflecting its surroundings. The building has by a steel roof that sweeps backward from the facade, like a silver ribbon wrapped around both halves. The architect left the understructure exposed, a decision made to celebrate the complex construction that goes into buildings.
Featured image: Richard B. Fisher Center, via Wikipedia.
Gehry Residence, California
The architect’s private house, the Gehry Residence in California was built around an existing Dutch colonial-style house. It is characterized by the use of unconventional materials, such as chain-link fences and corrugated steel. The original house was warped with a new exterior, while the old exterior remained visible.
The interior went through a considerable amount of changes on both of its two levels, stripped in some places to reveal the framing, exposing the joists and wood studs. Peeking out from within the mix of the materials, the apex of the old house gives the impression that the house is consistently under construction.
A symbol of deconstructivism, the house involves a balance of fragment and whole, raw and refined, new and old.
Featured image: Gehry Residence, California, via rocor.