Gebouwen van Frank Gehry. Het bekendste uit recente tijd is zijn Gugenheim museum in Bilbao. Frank Owen Gehry, geboren als Ephraim Owen Goldberg, (Toronto, 28 februari 1929) is een Canadees-Amerikaans architect.
Gehry behaalde zijn graad in de architectuur aan de University of Southern California. Sinds 1962 leidt Gehry een eigen bureau in Los Angeles: Frank O. Gehry Associates. De belangrijkste bouwwerken van enige omvang staan in Los Angeles, zoals de Loyola Law School (1981), het California Aerospace Museum (1983), de Francis Howard Goldwyn Regional Branch Library (1986), en de Walt Disney Concert Hall (2003). In Europa vinden we onder meer het Vitra Design Museum (1986) terug in Weil am Rhein, Duitsland. Onlangs bouwde hij het American Center in Parijs (1988) in een meer eenvoudige vormgeving, de Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles (1989) en het 'dansende gebouw' van de ING in Praag (1996). Spraakmakend is zijn Guggenheim Museum in het Spaanse Bilbao (1991), dat verrees op een voormalig haventerrein bij de oude binnenstad waaraan de schaal en de textuur van het museum is aangepast. Opvallend aan dit ontwerp is het gebruik van geavanceerde computerprogramma's en het sculpturale metalen dak. Gehry ontwerpt ook meubels, waaronder kartonnen stoelen en in de jaren negentig, naar het voorbeeld van Michael Thonet, stoelen uit gebogen houten latten.
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By 2000 Frank Gehry had become one of the most celebrated and sought-after architects in the world. In 1989, he had been honoured with the Pritzker Prize for Architecture. Fourteen honorary doctorates had been bestowed on him. His Guggenheim Museum in Balbao (1995) had not only become the acclaimed building for the 21st-century but also an unqualified financial success for the owners. The town of Bilbao, an industrial nonentity in the Basque Country had suddenly turned into the tourist destination of Northern Spain.
It had not been always that way. Thirty years earlier he, an unknown, had peddled his cardboard furniture to a perplexed world. His private residence (1978), a shack-like reconstruction under corrugated zink-cladding wrapped with chicken-wire fence, had jarred the burghers of its plush, middle-class neighborhood in Santa Monica, CA. The architecture critics thought it was a joke and labled him the King of Deconstructivism. Which an angered Gehry denied. He ermphasized that his style was a manifestation of our chaotic times. He let himself be persuaded to design a social housing project in Frankfurt, Germany (1994); which ironiously led to a number of odd-shaped projects in Central Europe. Still, a critic called his "Dancing House"; in Prague (1995) a "crushed-coke bottle".
Gehry's fame spread. He built a number of "serious" commissions, in which he developed the sculptural stainless-steel cladding that would become his signature architectural style. Most notably the Frederick Weisman Museum in Mineapolis (1993) and the American Center in Paris, France (1994) which directly lead to the Bilbao Guggenheim Museum and the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.
All during this period of increased building activity, Gehry labored at the design of the Walt Disney Philharmonic Hall. It took 16 years (1987-2006) to bring this project to completion. He started with a lime-stone faced design (like the one at the American Center in Paris) which turned out too costly. Gehry exchanged the limestone for stainless-steel. Still the financing client remained unmoved. Eventually in 1996, the success of Bilbao and Eli Broad of Los Angeles helped to turn the embarrassing funding impasse around. The building was inaugurated in 2003; acoustically perhaps the best concert hall in the world.
Since then Gehry has been booked for the rest of his life: a revolutionary sky-scraper, the Beekman Tower in Manhattan, a badly needed 3-billion-dollar redevelopment of Garnd Avenue in Los Angeles, another Guggenheim Museum in of all places Abu Dabhi, United Arab Emirates to be completed on Gehry's 83rd birthday in 2012.