The ability to deliver buildings that are markedly different, but which obviously carry the signature of a single creator is quite an achievement. Frank Gehry was named the most important architect of our age by Vanity Fair for a reason.

As a child, Gehry would build little cities out of scraps of wood, encouraged by his grandmother. After truck driving, radio announcing and chemical engineering, it was the memory of those cities and grandma that inspired him to take an architecture class.

The sense of fun and play is always there with him. Gehry echoes Goethe when he says: “Liquid architecture. It's like jazz — you improvise, you work together, you play off each other, you make something, they make something. And I think it's a way of — for me — it's a way of trying to understand the city, and what might happen in the city.”

The Walt Disney Concert Hall is a dynamic building that lifts your spirits before you’ve even stepped into it. Those stainless-steel sails suggest the possibility of flight. Speaking of the steel, it was specially selected by Gehry so that concerts could be projected onto the outside of the building. Refik Anadol, a Turkish artist, did project a compilation of previous concerts, cut together, on the walls, but he is the only one to do thus far. Gehry promised Lillian Disney, who commissioned the building, something that sculpturally looked like a flower, and though she passed before its completion, Gehry likes to think she can see the floral inspired concert hall from Heaven. Gehry loved the project so much he would come and sit next to the L.A. Philharmonic president whenever he was in town.

Who wouldn’t enjoy working in The Binoculars Building in Venice, California? It was perfect for the advertising agency that commissioned the design — something that gets you noticed, and which surely made any potential clients curious about whether they could get similarly imaginative advertising campaigns launched by the company inside.

It is hard not to fall in love with Gehry’s designs — they are so vibrant. The Vitra Design Museum would have you wanting to know what went on inside just from the playful construction. It might even have you wondering how the inside functions, given the outside is so unconventional.

Gehry’s own house plays similar games with what you might expect from traditional architecture. Angular shapes break up the silhouette of the bungalow, and like anything out on the edge, it has drawn lovers and haters. Surrounded by architecture that conjures up suburbia, the house is out of place, and doesn’t fit with the tastes of the neighborhood.

In the same way that the renowned motion picture Citizen Kane reveals to you every subsequent camera technique that Orson Welles would use in his amazing film career, Gehry’s house is a glimpse of where his future path as an architect would lead.

Aeronautical Design Software helped Gehry to deliver a giant fish sculpture to the Olympic Village in Barcelona, Spain. It’s interesting as a visual, but the cool thing is, all these whimsical designs that push the boundaries, because they have to be structurally sound, are going to make what can be done with conventional architecture even more impressive as well.

Movement is obviously important to Gehry — not just with the Dancing House in Prague, but also the Guggenheim in Bilbao, and the Peter B. Lewis Building in Cleveland, Ohio.

He stands apart from the modernists we have looked at previously, having more in common with Sir Norman Foster, taking those early modernist roots and pushing them to a whole other place.

Being so out there you must, in some senses, be even more firmly rooted in the practical demands of designing buildings, and Gehry has used AutoCAD for a long time.

At Axiom, we recognize the need to be able to put a lot of energy into the creative process of designing buildings, and therefore we have developed software such as Title Block Manager. Our programs take care of those time-consuming and repetitive tasks so that you can focus on the design work. Contact us today at AxiomInt.com to find out more.

Leave a Comment