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Frank Gehry

Canadian-American Architect

Frank Gehry Photo
Movements and Styles: Modernism and Modern Art, Postmodernism

Born: February 28, 1929 - Toronto, Canada

"[Gehry's] buildings are shocking. They don't please the eye the way the Taj Mahal does, but they give you a mysterious feeling of delight."

Philip Johnson


Arguably the most important architect of the contemporary era and certainly the most famous living architect, Frank Gehry's unique style is hard to categorize. Although his earlier work is rooted in modernism, his later designs have consciously rejected modernist tropes. Experimenting with a range of materials from cheap mass-produced items to space-age titanium, his buildings are entertaining and surprising, but also functional. Gehry has designed a number of iconic buildings including the Bilbao Guggenheim, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and the Biomuseo in Panama City and these have become world-renowned attractions in their own right, often bringing tourists and money into an area. His style continues to evolve to the present day and he is still active in architectural design, creating bold testaments to his own innovative vision.

Key Ideas

Gehry draws much of his inspiration from art, both contemporary and classical. He treats each new commission as "a sculptural object" and he is particularly well-known for his asymmetrical designs which resemble the forms of Constantin Brancusi or Henry Moore, only on a grand scale. The impact of Cubism, and the work of Pablo Picasso and Giorgio Morandi, is also apparent in many of his geometric and deconstructed works.
All of Gehry's designs are united by their sense of movement, he embeds motion directly into his architecture so that his projects, flow, curve, bend, and crumple in novel and unexpected ways, subverting traditional building norms.
Gehry is a pioneer of 3D computer modelling as an architectural tool, utilizing it to transform sketched concepts into actual buildings and this has allowed him to create increasingly experimental forms, particularly in his later 'crumpled paper' buildings
Frank Gehry Life and Legacy

Frank Gehry was born Frank Goldberg in Toronto, Ontario. His parents were Sadie Caplan and Irving Goldberg (a former boxer and a travelling salesman who specialized in pinball and slot machines). They were descended, respectively, from Polish and Russian Jews and, although he rarely used it, Frank was also given the Hebrew name Ephraim. The architect later said of his parents: "my father thought I was a dreamer, I wasn't gonna amount to anything. It was my mother who ... would push me".

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