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Architectural Genius: Frank Gehry

Twisting, sweeping, sculptural - all terms that describe the designs created by Frank Gehry, an American legend in the field of architecture. Gehry is well-known for his iconic, biomorphic building exteriors, including the Experience Music Project in Seattle, Washington. His most famous work, however, is the Guggenheim Museum’s branch in Bilbao, Spain, a towering titanium structure that perches in the landscape like a giant sculpture.

Where does Frank Gehry come up with these wildly original designs? Gehry is a representative of the Deconstructivist School of modern architecture - a movement that relishes experimentation and a break from tradition. Unlike most other schools of design thought, the deconstructivists do not believe that “form follows function,” instead preferring to put form first, and create structures with personality, and most importantly, that defy convention.

Gehry has become something of a celebrity in the past few decades, since the completion of the Guggenheim Bilbao, the EMP, the Chiat-Day Building (in Venice, California, this building is shaped like a giant pair of binoculars,) and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Gehry won the Pritzker Prize for Architecture in 1989, the most prestigious architecture prize in the world, and one that is often compared to the Nobel Prize in terms of impact and importance.

So why is Frank Gehry an architect worth knowing? His unparalleled ingenuity and creativity have turned his design philosophy into a modern art form. There is no mistaking a “Gehry building,” and no denying the visionary voice of Frank Gehry.

Schools to consider: