|Birth Day:||February 28, 1929|
|Birth Place:||Toronto, Canada|
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He tried truck driving, radio announcing, and chemical engineering before settling on architecture. He studied city planning at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, but left out of disgust with what he felt was the program's socially irresponsible approach to architecture.
Gehry was born Frank Owen Goldberg on February 28, 1929, in Toronto, Ontario, to parents Sadie Thelma (née Kaplanski/Caplan) and Irving Goldberg. His father was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Russian Jewish parents, and his mother was a Polish Jewish immigrant born in Łódź. A creative child, he was encouraged by his grandmother, Leah Caplan, with whom he would build little cities out of scraps of wood. With these scraps from her husband's hardware store, she entertained him for hours, building imaginary houses and futuristic cities on the living room floor.
In 1947, his family immigrated to the United States, settling in California. Gehry got a job driving a delivery truck, and studied at Los Angeles City College, eventually to graduate from the University of Southern California's School of Architecture. During that time, he became a member of Alpha Epsilon Pi.
According to Gehry, "I was a truck driver in L.A., going to City College, and I tried radio announcing, which I wasn't very good at. I tried chemical engineering, which I wasn't very good at and didn't like, and then I remembered. You know, somehow I just started wracking my brain about, 'What do I like?' Where was I? What made me excited? And I remembered art, that I loved going to museums and I loved looking at paintings, loved listening to music. Those things came from my mother, who took me to concerts and museums. I remembered Grandma and the blocks, and just on a hunch, I tried some architecture classes." Gehry graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Southern California in 1954.
In addition to architecture, Gehry has made a line of furniture, jewelry for Tiffany & Co., various household items, sculptures, and even a glass bottle for Wyborowa Vodka. His first line of furniture, produced from 1969 to 1973, was called "Easy Edges", constructed out of cardboard. Another line of furniture released in the spring of 1992 is "Bentwood Furniture". Each piece is named after a different hockey term. He was first introduced to making furniture in 1954 while serving in the U.S. Army, where he designed furniture for the enlisted soldiers.
Gehry returned to Los Angeles to work for Victor Gruen Associates, to whom he had been apprenticed while at the USC School of Architecture. In 1957 he was given the chance to design his first private residence at the age of 28, with friend and old classmate Greg Walsh. Construction was done by another neighbor across the street from his wife's family, Charlie Sockler. Built in Idyllwild, California, for his wife Anita's family neighbor Melvin David, "The David Cabin", shows features that were to become synonymous with later work. The over 2,000 sq ft (190 m) mountain retreat has unique design features with strong Asian influences, stemming from his earliest inspirations at the time like Shosoin Treasure House in Nara, Japan, among others. Beams protrude from the exterior sides, vertical grain douglas fir detail, and exposed, unfinished ceiling beams are prominent features.
In 1961, he moved to Paris, where he worked for architect Andre Remondet. In 1962, Gehry established a practice in Los Angeles, which became Frank Gehry and Associates in 1967 and then Gehry Partners in 2001. Gehry's earliest commissions were all in Southern California, where he designed a number of innovative commercial structures such as Santa Monica Place (1980) and residential buildings such as the eccentric Norton House (1984) in Venice, California.
Gehry has been involved in exhibition designs at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art dating back to the 1960s. In 1965, Gehry designed the exhibition display for the "Art Treasures of Japan" exhibition at the LACMA. This was followed soon after by the exhibition design for the "Assyrian Reliefs" show in 1966 and the "Billy Al Bengston Retrospective" in 1968. The LACMA then had Gehry design the installation for the "Treasures of Tutankhamen" exhibition in 1978 followed by the "Avant-Garde in Russia 1910–1930" exhibition in 1980. The subsequent year, Gehry designed the exhibition for "Seventeen Artists in the '60s" at the LACMA, followed soon after by the "German Expressionist Sculpture Exhibition" in 1983. In 1991/92, Gehry designed the installation of the landmark exhibition "Degenerate Art: The Fate of the Avant-Garde in Nazi Germany", which opened at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and traveled to the Art Institute of Chicago, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, and the Altes Museum in Berlin. In 2014, Gehry was asked to design an exhibition on the work of Alexander Calder at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's Resnick Pavilion, again invited by the museum's curator Stephanie Barron. The exhibition began on November 24, 2013, and ran through July 27, 2014.
Gehry was elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in 1974, and he has received many national, regional and local AIA awards. He is a senior fellow of the Design Futures Council and serves on the steering committee of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture.
Gehry participated in the 1980 Venice Biennale's La Strada Novissima installation. He also contributed to the 1985 Venice Biennale with an installation and performance named Il Corso del Coltello done in collaboration with Claes Oldenburg. His projects were featured in the 1996 Venice Biennale. He subsequently contributed to the 2008 Venice Biennale with the installation Ungapatchket.
In 1983, Gehry created the stage design for Lucinda Childs' dance Available Light, set to music by John Adams. It premiered at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles at the "Temporary Contemporary", and was subsequently seen at the Brooklyn Academy of Music Opera House in New York City and the Theatre de la Ville in Paris. The set consisted of two levels angled in relation to each other, with a chain-link backdrop. The pieces was revived in 2015, and was performed, among other places, in Los Angeles and Philadelphia, where it was presented by FringeArts, which commissioned the revival.
As a result of his fascination, the first Fish Lamps were fabricated between 1984 and 1986. They employed wire armatures molded into fish shapes, onto which shards of plastic laminate ColorCore are individually glued. Since the creation of the first lamp in 1984, the fish has become a recurrent motif in Gehry's work, most notably in the Fish Sculpture at La Vila Olímpica del Poblenou in Barcelona (1989–92) and Standing Glass Fish for the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden (1986).
Gehry's style at times seems unfinished or even crude, but his work is consistent with the California "funk" art movement in the 1960s and early 1970s, which featured the use of inexpensive found objects and nontraditional media such as clay to make serious art. His works always have at least some element of deconstructivism. Gehry has been called "the apostle of chain-link fencing and corrugated metal siding". However, a retrospective exhibit at New York's Whitney Museum in 1988 revealed that he is also a sophisticated classical artist, who knows European art history and contemporary sculpture and painting.
In 1989, Gehry was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize. The jury cited Gehry as "Always open to experimentation, he has as well a sureness and maturity that resists, in the same way that Picasso did, being bound either by critical acceptance or his successes. His buildings are juxtaposed collages of spaces and materials that make users appreciative of both the theatre and the back-stage, simultaneously revealed."
Though Gehry continued to design other notable buildings in California such as the Chiat/Day Building (1991) in Venice in collaboration with Claes Oldenburg, which is well known for its massive sculpture of binoculars, he also began to receive larger national and international commissions. These include Gehry's first European commission, the Vitra International Furniture Manufacturing Facility and Design Museum in Germany completed in 1989. This was soon followed by other major commissions including the Frederick Weisman Museum of Art (1993) in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the Cinémathèque Française (1994) in Paris, and the Dancing House (1996) in Prague.
In 1997, Gehry vaulted to a new level of international acclaim when the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao opened in Bilbao, Spain. Hailed by The New Yorker as a "masterpiece of the 20th century" and legendary architect Philip Johnson as "the greatest building of our time", the museum became famous for its striking, yet aesthetically pleasing design and the economic effect that it had on the city.
In addition to his long-standing involvement with exhibition design at the LACMA, Gehry has also designed numerous exhibition installations with other institutions. In 1998, "The Art of the Motorcycle" exhibition opened at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum with its installation designed by Gehry. This exhibition subsequently traveled to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and the Guggenheim Las Vegas.
Gehry's firm was responsible for innovation in architectural software. His firm spun off another firm called Gehry Technologies that was established in 2002. In 2005, Gehry Technologies began a partnership with Dassault Systèmes to bring innovations from the aerospace and manufacturing world to AEC and developed Digital Project software, as well as GTeam software. In 2014, Gehry Technologies was acquired by software company Trimble Navigation. Its client list includes Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Herzog & de Meuron, Jean Nouvel, Coop Himmelb(l)au, and Zaha Hadid.
In 2004, Gehry designed the official trophy for the World Cup of Hockey. He redesigned the trophy for the next tournament in 2016.
Having grown up in Canada, Gehry is an avid fan of ice hockey. He began a hockey league in his office, FOG (which stands for Frank Owen Gehry), though he no longer plays with them. In 2004, he designed the trophy for the World Cup of Hockey. Gehry is a naturalized U.S. citizen and is also a citizen of Canada. He lives in Santa Monica, California, and continues to practice out of Los Angeles.
In 2004, he voiced himself on the children's TV show Arthur, where he helped Arthur and his friends design a new treehouse. Gehry also voiced himself in the 2005 episode of The Simpsons called "The Seven-Beer Snitch", in which he designs a concert hall for the fictional city of Springfield. Gehry has since voiced that he regrets his appearance since a joke about his design technique has led people to misunderstand his architectural process.
In 2006, filmmaker Sydney Pollack made a documentary about Gehry's work called Sketches of Frank Gehry. The film, which followed Gehry over the course of five years and painted a positive portrait of his character, was well-received critically.
In 2009, architecturally-inspired ice cream sandwich company Coolhaus named a cookie and ice cream combination after Gehry. Dubbed the "Frank Behry", it features Strawberries & Cream gelato and snickerdoodle cookies.
In January 2011, Gehry joined the University of Southern California (USC) faculty, as the Judge Widney Professor of Architecture. He has since continued in this role at his alma mater. In addition to his position at USC, Gehry has held teaching positions at Harvard University, the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of Toronto, Columbia University, the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, and at Yale University, where he is still teaching as of 2017.
In 2012, Gehry designed the set for the Los Angeles Philharmonic's opera production of Don Giovanni, performed at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Several recent and ongoing major works by Gehry around the world include the Dr Chau Chak Wing Building in the University of Technology Sydney, completed in 2014. The Chau Chak Wing, with its 320,000 bricks in "sweeping lines" is described as "10 out of 10" on a scale of difficulty. An ongoing project is the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi on Saadiyat Island in the United Arab Emirates. Other significant projects such as the Mirvish Towers in Toronto, and a multi-decade renovation of the Philadelphia Museum of Art are currently in the design stage. In October 2013, Gehry was appointed joint architect with Foster + Partners to design the "High Street" phase of the development of Battersea Power Station in London, Gehry's first project there.
However, in recent years, some of Gehry's more prominent designs have failed to go forward. In addition to unrealized designs such as a major Corcoran Art Gallery expansion in Washington, DC, and a new Guggenheim museum near the South Street Seaport in New York City, Gehry was notoriously dropped by developer Bruce Ratner from the Pacific Park (Brooklyn) redevelopment project and was also dropped in 2014 as the designer of the World Trade Center Performing Arts Center, both in New York City. Nevertheless, some stalled projects have recently shown progress: after many years and a dismissal, Gehry was recently reinstated as architect for the Grand Avenue Project in Los Angeles, and though Gehry's controversial design of the National Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial in Washington, DC, has been subject to numerous delays during the approval process with the United States Congress, the project was finally approved in 2014 with a modified design.
In 2014, two significant, long-awaited museums designed by Gehry opened: the Biomuseo, a biodiversity museum in Panama City, Panama, and the Fondation Louis Vuitton, a modern art museum in the Bois de Boulogne park in Paris, France, which opened to some rave reviews.
Also in 2014, Gehry was commissioned by River LA, formerly known as the Los Angeles River Revitalization Corporation, a nonprofit group founded by the city of Los Angeles in 2009 to coordinate river policy, to devise a wide-ranging new plan for the river.
In 2014, he curated an exhibition of photography by his close friend and businessman Peter Arnell that ran from March 5 through April 1 at Milk Studios Gallery in Los Angeles.
In April 2014, Gehry designed a set for an "exploration of the life and career of Pierre Boulez" by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, which was performed in November of that year.
In 2014, Gehry was one of the six "iconoclasts" selected by French fashion house Louis Vuitton to design a piece using their iconic monogram pattern as part of their "Celebrating Monogram" campaign.
Gehry is known for his sometimes cantankerous personality. During a trip to Oviedo, Spain, to accept the Prince of Asturias Award in October 2014, he received a significant amount of attention, both positive and negative, for publicly flipping off a reporter at a press conference who accused him of being a "showy" architect.
In October 2014, the first major European exhibition of Gehry's work debuted at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Other museums or major galleries that have done exhibitions on Gehry's architecture or design include the Leo Castelli Gallery in 1983 and the Walker Art Center in 1986, whose exhibition then traveled to the Toronto Harbourfront Museum, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the LACMA and the Whitney Museum. Subsequently, further museums that have done major exhibitions on Gehry's work include the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art in 1992, the Gagosian Gallery in 1984, 1992, and 1993, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 2001, the Guggenheim Bilbao in 2002, the Jewish Museum in Manhattan in 2010, and the Milan Triennale, first in 1988 and then in 2010, with an exhibition entitled "Frank Gehry from 1997". In 2015, LACMA held a major retrospective of Gehry's work.
In February 2015, the new building for the University of Technology Sydney was officially opened, with a façade constructed from more than 320,000 hand-placed bricks and glass slabs, and costing AU$180 million. Gehry said he would not design a building like the "crumpled paper bag" again.
In October 2015, 21 21 Design Sight in Tokyo held the exhibition Frank Gehry. I Have An Idea, curated by Japanese architect Tsuyoshi Tane.
Gehry told the French newspaper La Croix in November 2016 that President of France François Hollande had assured the architect that he could relocate to France if Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. The following month, Gehry said that he had no plans to move. Trump and he exchanged words in 2010 when Gehry's 8 Spruce Street, originally known as Beekman Tower, was built 1 foot (0.30 m) taller than the nearby Trump Building, which until then had been New York City's tallest residential building.
In February 2017, MasterClass announced an online architecture course taught by Gehry that was then released in July.
Currently, Frank Gehry is 92 years, 7 months and 21 days old. Frank Gehry will celebrate 93rd birthday on a Monday 28th of February 2022.
Find out about Frank Gehry birthday activities in timeline view here.