The Architect as Artist Frank O. Gehry
Widely recognized as one of the most accomplished and inventive architects practicing today, Frank Gehry (b. 1929) is best known for landmark architectural works such as the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and the highly acclaimed Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles which opened in October 2003.
Born in Toronto, Canada in 1929, Frank Gehry moved to Los Angeles with his family in 1947, at the age of 17. Gehry received his bachelor of architecture degree from the University of Southern California in 1954, studied city planning at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, and opened his first office in 1962 in Los Angeles, where he continues to live and practice.
Gehry's most famous design? Some critics and fans may point to the renovation of his own Santa Monica residence, where he still lives today. Originally built in 1920 and purchased by Gehry in 1977, the Gehry Residence (1978) features a metallic exterior wrapped around the original building that leaves many of the original details visible.
The original design was so noteworthy that it literally jump-started his career, leading to a growing number of commissions located in Southern California -- among them the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium (1981) in San Pedro and the Air and Space exhibit building (1984) at the California Museum of Science and Industry in Los Angeles.
And the rest, as they say, is architectural history -- as Gehry's bold designs increasingly gained the attention of city planners worldwide. Today, more notable among Gehry's works include innovative architectural wonders that have become major tourist attractions in their own right, such as The Experience Music Project in Seattle, Washington or the famous Dancing House in Prague.
His latest headline-making creation is 8 Spruce Street, located in downtown Manhattan featuring Gery's signature "moving" motif that has been incorporated into a traditional skyscraper. Reaching a soaring 76 stories high, the 8 Spruce Street Tower was the tallest residential building in the U.S. when it was completed in 2010.