Frank Gehry's Architecture

Part 2

From Bilbao to Abu Dhabi

Each location has a “linkassociated with it, which will open a marker on the Google-Earth Map.
For this to work you have to install free Google-Earth
on you hard disk.

Gehry at 70 at the Peak of his Professional Form

The success of Bilbao, architecturally and commercially, made Gehry one of the most sought after architects of the first ten years of the 21st century. An embarrassed group of sponsors lead by Eli Broad revived LA's Disney Hall, and Gehry had now learned how to wrap Yasuhisa Toyota's acoustic box with stainless skins to obtain the skulptural exterior he envisioned.
During the next three years he built 10 larger and smaller projects mainly in Europe among them such outrageous constructions as the Experience Music Center in Seattle and a horsehead-shaped conference auditorium for the managers of the Deutsche Bank in Berlin. The critics rediculed them, but for his clients he could do no wrong, they presented his signature buildings with pride. Still in his smaller buildings, like in Maggie's Centre, in Dundee, Gehry could affect a quiet, endearing intimacy.

In 2001 the Guggenheim set up a Gehry Retrospective in their Frank-Loyd-Wright Museum in New York with nearly a hundred models from Gehry's shop, an unforgettable exhibition. The occasion was the announcement of a new Guggenheim Museum Project, which Gehry was to build at the waterfront of Manhattan at the foot of Wall Street. An entire room was given over to models and computer renditions of the grandious design. Alas, the September-11 disaster of the NYC Trade Center changed the mood of the country. The project was never built.

Between 2003 and 2014 Gehry built another ten, mostly large projects, such as the 265-meter-high Beekman Tower and the “Glass House” for the IAC Headquarters both in New York City. His most beautiful building, the Hotel Marqués de Riscal has already risen in the vineyards of the Rioja, Spain.

In 2012 it appeared that Gehry had amassed enough commissions to last for the rest of his life. However, the most exciting one, the Abu Dhabi Guggenheim Museum remained on hold and may never overcome its political hurdles and be built – but one cannot know, at 85 Gehry has not slowed down and may well live to 89 in 2018....

Der Neue Zollhof, 1999
Düsseldorf, Germany

The Neue Zollhof

The Zollhof Complex as seen from the Rhine

The "Neue Zollhof" is currently occupied primarily by warehouses. This stretch of the waterfront is being redeveloped as an urban pedestrian zone, to comprise primarily art and media agencies. Due to its proximity to the residential district immediately to the South, and to the municipal and financial district further to the East, the rehabilitation of the harbor front is intended to provide an open public amenity for the City, while underscoring the emergence of Düsseldorf as a cultural and business center.
Photos and Text from arcspace

Vontz Center of Molecular Studies, University of Cincinnati 1999
Cincinnati, Ohio

The Vontz Center at the University of Cincinnati

The Albert H. Vontz Center for Molecular Studies, a neurological sciences and cancer research laboratory, consists of 150,000 square feet with three floors of lab space, offices, lobby, and lecture hall. It is sited on 3 1/2 acres in the southwest part of the Medical Center Campus (East Campus) on the corner of Martin Luther King Drive and Eden Avenue. Built of red brick, it still has curved walls, skewed windows, sloping roof lines, and a sculptural look--all characteristic of the mature Gehry's style (a la the Guggenheim in Bilbao).
Photo and text from Mary Sullivan,

Peter B. Lewis Building, Case Western Reserve,1999-2002
Cleveland, Ohio,

Peter B. Lewis Building, the sculptured south side

Named for a local insurance mogul, the Lewis Building houses the Management School for Case Western Reserve. Sculptural, undulating forms have become Gehry's signature.
Text and photo from Mary Sullivan,

Deutsche Zentral Bank Building, 2000
Berlin, Germany

The conference hall in the atrium of the building.

The conference hall may look like a whale but is actually a "Horse Head"!
Photos wordpress

The Building is designed for mixed use comprising the Berlin Headquarters (Zenrale) of the DG Bank and a residential component with 39 apartments. Offices and conference spaces are organized around an atrium, and are oriented inward to take advantage of the natural light that floods through the glass ceiling. The construction of its roof is very light and looks like a spider web from the inside.
The building's primary conference hall, the forum for the bank's directors, is located within a highly sculptural shell that rests on the glass floor in the center of the atrium making it appear to float in the space. The four-story high structure, its curvy form resembling an enormous prehistoric horse head, is clad in stainless steel on the exterior and wood on the interior.
In German the "horse head" ironically plays on the Berliner ditty "Überlasse das Denken den Pferden, die haben grössere Köpfe als du!" (Leave thinking to the horses, they have bigger heads than you!)....

Experience Music Building, 2000
Seattle, WA

The riotious entry to the building.
Photo wordpress

The nucleus of the center under construction
Photo wordpress

The Experience Music Project is an exciting blend of exhibits, technology, media, and hands-on activities that combines the interpretive aspects of a traditional museum, the educational role of a school, state-of-the-art research facilities of a specialized library, audience-drawing qualities of performance venues and popular attractions. It places special emphasis on music-related traditions in the Pacific Northwest, and specifically commemorates Jimi Hendrix, one of America's a most creative, innovative, and influential musical artists.
Text from arcspace.

Giant Fish Sculpture, 2000
Barcelona, Spain

The giant fish in the city of Gaudi is by Gehry!.
Photo Panoramio

Condé Nast Building, Cafeteria, 2000
New York City,

The 4th-floor cafeteria of the Condé Nast Building designed by Gehry.

Üstra Tower, aka "Gehry Tower", 2001
Hannover, Germany, Goethestraße 13a

The best photo of the much rediculed building.

The building was commissioned by the city-owned Hanover Transport Services (Üstra), for whom Gehry also designed a bus stop in the city.
Constructed of stainless steel, the tower is memorable for the twist in its outer façade on a ferroconcrete core, making optimal use of the relatively small piece of ground on which it is located

PROJECT Guggenheim Water-Front-Museum, 2001
New York City

Gehry's model exhibited at at the Guggenheim Fifth-Avenue Museum in 2001.

A postcard of an artist's rendering sold at the same occasion.

The Twin Towers in the background would disappear later that year - together with the funds for this project.
It is unfortunate that this extraordinary Guggenheim Museum project overtaxed the funds and local clout of Gehry's most faithful client. It would have transformed Manhattan - a wildly imaginative counterpoint to the boring, uninventive Twin Towers. Apparently the city fathers were shocked by Gehry's architectural fantasy. Guggenheim in turn took its money to Abu Dhabi - and Gehry followed suit!

Issey Miyake's Flagship Store, 2001
New York City

Interior of the store.
Photo typepad

Gehry redesigned the interior of this Falgship Store in the Tribecca.
An enthusiastic customer wrote:
The Tornado' is now the name of the 25-foot-high titanium column-like structure which dominates the Hudson Street shop. It's pure Gehry -- and yet if you squint you'd swear you're looking at a classic pleated Miyake dress (fitted on Nike of Samothrace). Extending from a shaft emerging from the cellar floor to a turbulent sprawl engulfing the ceiling of the ground floor, the Tornado does energize the whole room, both engaging and provoking the shopper.”
From Artnet

Maggie's Centre, Ninewells Hospital, 2003
Dundee, Scotland

Maggie's Hospital
Photo Galinsky
Gehry's most intimate building.

Maggie Keswick Jencks, who died of breast cancer in 1995, pioneered the setting up of several small cancer caring centres in the UK. The philosophy behind Maggie's Centres is that your immediate environment affects your well-being. These intimate buildings are the first stage in helping sufferers manage their fears.
Built on the landscaped grounds of Ninewells NHS hospital this is the third Maggie's Centre to be built from a list of 10 commissioned from leading-edge architects including Zaha Hadid, Daniel Libeskind, and Richard Rogers Partnership.
The financing for Maggie's Centre in Dundee came from charitable donations and local fund raising. Frank Gehry, who was a close friend of Maggie Jencks, waved his fee.
During the design process Gehry built over 70 models before he finally settled for two key elements: the tower, inspired by lighthouses, and the asymmetrically folded roof, based on a shawl worn by a woman in a Vermeer painting he had seen with Maggie.
Text arcspace

Disney Hall Opens
Walt Disney Philharmonic Hall, 1999-2003

Los Angeles, California

After years of financial wrangling, the intervention of Eli Broad, and Gehry's success at Bilbao, Disney Hall was finished.

The building in Google-Earth is surrounded by Panoramio photos which show the exciting details. Let me add a few images that illustrate the building site. The Concert Hall is dwarfed by surrounding high-rise buildings. Like with many other Gehry projects the site is most difficult. Surounding structures make it impossible to view the intire building from a perspective distance.

Disney Hall, the site from the north-east, 2003

The Art-Center Building, view from the south

South of the Hall Gehry was obliged to place an uninspiring box - clad in limestone. It houses offices, an exhibition space, and a dim café - the downtown offices for Art-Center, the Disney School of Design in Valencia, CA. Could it be the location of the originally planned Disney hotel, which was abandoned because of costs? - Photos e-architect

Arerial view looking from south to north,
the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion visible across the street
Photo Panoramio

The view from Space shows that the concert hall is one unified structure, a rare exception among Gehry's buildings. The aerial view shows that it is the roof of the acoustic box of the auditorium. The surrounding stainless steel "skins" are (only) outer sculptural shells behind which hide the lobby, a small auditorium, a cafeteria, a donors' room, and the at first confusing stairs to the upper levels of the concert hall.
This disovery is important. In an interview Gehry stated boldly that he had been asked to build the best acoustic concert hall in the world, and in the cost wrangling that became his driving motive. He hired the Japanese acoustic engineer Yasuhisa Toyota, who told him that the best hall would be a "shoe-box". Together they gave the box a convex ceiling and sloping walls. The orchestra is placed in the southern center (where the GE marker is). The seating for the audience climbs the side walls and the two ends of the structure. Wood paneling dampens the reverberations. The effect was a complete surprise including for Toyota. Everyone was ecstatic, and today even a single piano recital is able to fill this space for 2275 people not to mention a full orchestra. There is no question, this is the best concert hall of comparable size.

Ray and Maria Stata Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2004
Cambridge, Mass.

The colorful houses of the Stata Center.

Major funding for this project was provided by Ray Stata (MIT class of 1957) and Maria Stata. Other major funders include Bill Gates, Alexander W. Dreyfoos, Jr. (MIT class of 1954), and Morris Chang of TSMC. Above the fourth floor, the building splits into two distinct structures: the Gates tower and the Dreyfoos tower.
Contained within the building are the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems, as well as the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy. Academic celebrities such as Noam Chomsky, Rodney Brooks, and Ron Rivest have offices there, as do W3C founder Tim Berners-Lee and Free Software Movement founder Richard Stallman.
Photo and Text wikipedia

Jay Pritzker Pavilion, 2004
Chicago, Illinois

The Pavillion.

Located at the east side of Millennium Park, the lawn and pavilion occupy about half of the park. This outdoor concert area is about 95,000 square feet with 4,000 fixed seats and additional capacity with 7000 on the lawn. The pavilion stands 120-feet high, with billowing forms framing the proscenium opening and connecting to an overhead trellis of pipes that define the lawn seating area.
Text and photo from Mary Sullivan,

MARTa Center, 2005
Herford, Germany

View of the brick and stainless steel complex.
Photo Thomas Mayer

MARTa, a German-English acronym for Möbel (furniture), ART and architecture, describes the purpose of the building: to provide contact between international designers and local manufacturers.
Red brick is a traditional local material while the roofs are pure Gehry, the buildings are a concession to the local idiom. It will host changing exhibitions on art, furniture design and architecture. These are arranged around a larger exhibition space under a 22m-high steel-clad dome.
The sculptural galleries are all single storey, so the interiors are flooded with light from the angled skylights. To facilitate wall mounted exhibitions the interior walls are perpendicular up to a height of three metres, and only lean in the higher reaches.
Text wikipedia

Ohr-O'Keefe Museum, 2005/ 2012
Biloxi, Mississippi

The Museum, 2012
Photo georgohr

The building was a partial victim of hurricane Kathrina. It has been rebuilt and greatly enlarged (open the Google-Earth marker).

Hotel Bodega Marqués de Riscal, 2006
Elciego, Rioja, Spain

The five-star Bodega Riscal in the vineyards
Photo Thomas Mayer

Arguably, Frank Gehry's most liberated and beautiful building sheathed in paper-thin colored titanium panels.

From a guest review: "The hotel and its people provide a sanctuary that will make you feel taken care of with ample luxury, beautiful modern architecture, a serene breathtaking setting in the hills of the Rioja wine country .The rooms are unique with beautiful woods, comfortable beds, beautiful bathrooms all designed and developed by Frank Gehry the famed architect and his staff”
- A room in the Hotel is $544/double (7/2014)

IAC/Inter-Active-Corp Headquarters, 2007
New York City

The glass-sheathed building
Photo seedsandfruit

"...Looking something like a tall ship in full sail, the nine-story glass building house offices for Mr. Diller's InterActiveCorp, a group of Internet businesses with a focus on travel. They include Expedia,,, Citysearch and Ticketmaster.
With typical Gehryesque frankness, the design appears to reflect New York's present preoccupation with ornamental building tops. Glass is the key feature in this design. Indeed, the Gehry design could radically transform the use of glass in New York buildings. The design employs super-clear "white" glass, etched with a white pattern that helps reduce energy costs.
New York has missed out on glass. People came to associate it exclusively with International Style office towers of the postwar decades. In response to a glut of that architecture on the market, architects and clients began to look nostalgically toward pre-war masonry buildings...."
Quoted from an article by Herbert Muschamp, wirednewyork

Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, Bard College 2007
Annandale-on-Hudson, NY

Entrance to the Fisher Performing Arts Center,
Photo Fisher

The Center in Winter
Photo Wikipedia

The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College offers an architecturally bold and dynamic environment for innovative artistic presentation in the Hudson Valley. The center provides audiences with a world-class complex that inspires risk-taking performances and provocative programs in orchestral, chamber, and jazz music and theater, dance, and opera by American and international artists.
The 110,000-square-foot building complex houses two theaters; four rehearsal studios for dance, theater, and music; and professional support facilities. The Sosnoff Theater, an intimate, 900-seat theater with an orchestra, parterre, and two balcony sections, features an orchestra pit for opera and an acoustic shell designed by Yasuhisa Toyota (who also designed the acoustic inner shell of the Disney Hall in Los Angels) that turns the theater into a first-class concert hall for performances of chamber and symphonic music.

Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), Redevelopment, 2008
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

A new titanium and glass-clad three-story south wing, overlooking Grange Park, was added to house a new Centre for Contemporary Art and a hosting centre for special events.

Interior of out-side spiral staircase seen above
Photos Thomas Mayer

In 2004, the AGO unveiled a $254 million redevelopment plan called Transformation AGO, by architect Frank Gehry. The new addition would require demolition of the 1992 Barton Myers/KPMB Post-Modernist wing. The AGO's transformation increased the art viewing space by 47%. Notable elements of the new building include a glass and wood sculpture gallery at the north end along Dundas Street; a 4-story, box-like contemporary arts gallery and hosting centre clad in blue titanium facing Grange Park, as well as a new entrance aligned with the historic Walker's Court and The Grange.
Text: Wikipedia

Beekman Tower, 2009-2011
New York City, 8 Spruce Street

Gehry's new Beekman Tower, 2012.
Photo wikipedia

Along with lobbies for each use, the first four floors host a school cafeteria, classrooms, a gymnasium and a library. Medical offices for the hospital next door take up the fifth floor. The sixth is reserved for mechanicals such as the elevators. But above it is a pool on a building setback on the seventh floor, along with two community rooms for 150 people each. The midsection includes what will likely be smaller luxury rental apartments - between 17 to19 units per floor. Starting at the 37th floor, the sprawling condos take over with eight per floor. At the 44th floor, the count changes to four apartments, plus a gym and community room - which does not really mean open to anyone but the condo community. There are five units per floor from the 49th through 70th floors, three on 71 and then two plus the bottom of a triplex on 72 [which extends up to 76] (height 265 m)
Text from Lois Weiss, New York Post

Princeton University Science Library 2008
Princeton, NJ

The building under construction 2008.
Photo Michael O'Boyle, arcspace

Entry area

Princeton University’s high-tech Peter B. Lewis Science Library, a multistory 87,000 sq ft building that houses Princeton’s science collections, in addition to providing classrooms, offices, and public space, it will house the Biology, Chemistry, Geo sciences and Map/GIS print collections, and provide facilities for the New Media Lab, the Educational Technology Center, and the Princeton Institute for Computational Science and Engineering. The angular steel, glass, brick and stucco library is a signature Gehry building, conceived by a legendary creative mind and crafted by the most advanced digital design tools available to today’s practicing architect.
Text and photo 2 from nikiomahe

Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health (LRCBH), 2010
Las Vegas, NV

The apparently chaotic front of the center as seen from the south-west

The Lou Ruvo Brain Institute is a VIP health care facility specializing in research and care for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, ALS, and other mental disorders operated by the Cleveland Clinic.

An inside view of this “Louny-bin” shows that the outside is not only showbiz,
but contains light-flooded spaces that rival Gothic cathedrals.

An aerial view shows that Gehry located its functional parts on the cooler, northern backside of the center
Photos buildipedia

PROJECT Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, 2006-2017?
Abu Dhabi, UAE

A computer rendition of the future museum complex.
In the right background is the future Louvre Museum by Zaha Hadid.

The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi museum complex, is planned to be located on Saadiyat Island north of the City of Abu Dhabi, UAE. On July 8, 2006, the city of Abu Dhabi announced it had signed an agreement with the Guggenheim Foundation to build a 30,000 square-meters (320,000 sq ft) museum. It will be the world's largest Guggenheim. Frank Gehry is to design it, with completion expected between 2011 and 2014....

Frank Gehry’s concept model, 2007
The installation will be four stories tall with multiple galleries stacked atop each other.

Take a look at the pristine terrain in Google-Earth. - Gehry was inspired by the location and the intent, noting, "The landscape, the opportunity, the requirement, to build something that people all over the world would come to and the possible resource to accomplish it opened tracks that were not likely to be considered anywhere else. The site itself, virtually on the water or close to the water on all sides, in a desert landscape with the beautiful sea and the light quality of the place suggested some of the direction."
Text and images from Wikipedia (2011)

Latest Situation of the Abu Dhabi Guggenheim Project:
The completion date was pushed back from 2011 to 2013, then to 2015, after the emirate cancelled contracts with concrete suppliers, and again to 2017 "amid more difficult economic times".... As of May 2014, the Guggenheim project has been on hold, with no progress on the construction pending the approval of construction applications and contracts with the Tourism Development & Investment Company, UAE.
Wikipedia (2014)