Sketches of Frank Gehry

Sketches such as these seem very arbitrary and almost childish to the naked eye, and maybe they are, but they are the initial inspirations for world renowned architect Frank Gehry. I just watched Sketches of Frank Gehry, a documentary about his path to stardom and the everyday objects and experimentation that has influenced his flamboyant style of architecture. As many of you already know he exploded onto the international architecture scene after the controversial construction of the Guggenheim Bilbao in 1997.

As an aspiring architect I was moved by the amount of time he and his collaborators spend model making. Too often I am caught up in the fast moving world of rendering a building using Sketch Up or 3D Studio Max when sitting down, costructing and picking apart a physical model can be greatly beneficial on a different level. I think that all students should re-evaluate the emphasis placed on computer modeling because it can be done in most firms by experts in computers. Model making, however, requires a different, more intuitive approach to designing and gives students an immediate, tangible grasp of space and scale. Frank Gehry supposedly doesn't even know how to use a computer.

I visited the Guggenheim in Bilbao a little over a year ago and was shocked, appalled, amazed and speechless when I saw in person the building I had heard and read so much about. My initial thought was to call it a beautifully sculpted monstrosity, which I still believe it to be. The subtle ripples in the reflection pool on the river facing side of the museum playfully reflected off of the titanium clad structure in a mesmerizing fashion whereas other vast areas of this metal simply reflected the blinding sunlight into my eyes. The cavernous entrance allows light to creep directly and indirectly into every corner of the central interior atrium. The use of high technology is very obvious within this atrium space where every stone slab has been laser cut to give the walls a flowing sense of motion. It's seductively impractical and seems to come from some intuitive perfection which Gehry himself wouldn't even be able to explain. The gallery spaces were what most disappointed me. Many were temporarily closed and the ones open housed an exhibition on Latin American art primarily before European conquest. The galleries were too dark and did not lend themselves well to the subject matter (which might also have influence my opinion because the exhibits were not all that well organized or interesting). No discredit to Gehry but my favorite part of the whole experience was probably the enourmous Louise Bourgeois spider out back.

I can't say that I am a huge Gehry fan but I still respect his approach to architecture. All in all though, I would recommend his film to anyone interested design of any sort for it's artistic take on the profession and the creative processes behind his newest landmark buildings.


Anonymous Chamberlaine said...

I'll have to agree with you.
I am not a big fan of Gehry's off-the-wall, sometimes impractical style (I mean, just one look at the Gehry House makes me cringe), but I have to give him credit for managing to capture the imagination in building form.

Nonetheless, I feel like the Bilbau museum itself overshadows the art it holds.

7:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a fan of Frank Gehry.

11:20 PM  

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