Constantly Advancing: The Creative Process Of Gehry Partners | The Plan
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Constantly Advancing: The Creative Process Of Gehry Partners

Frank Gehry

Over his fifty years of practice, Frank Gehry has been creating unique shapes with growing assurance and on an ever larger scale. In the two decades since he won the commission to design Walt Disney Concert Hall and was awarded the Pritzker Prize, he has gone from outsider to principal player, courted by cities, corporations, and visionary individuals. Everyone, from Las Vegas to Sydney, wants a touch of the Bilbao magic. Books and awards proliferate, and the architect who long struggled for solvency and respect can now work for clients who share his values. Some things have not changed. Each project, humble or ambitious, is a fresh challenge. At age 81, he is still exploring new forms of expression and collaborating fruitfully with his design partners. Clues to his way of working are piled up in his office, a cluttered room with windows overlooking a large open workspace. Half command post, half cabinet of curiosities, it’s a retreat in plain view where he can conduct business and find inspiration. There are model fish and boats (Gehry is a passionate weekend sailor), shards of glass, study models, and friends’ artwork, alongside such mementoes as a Golden Lion from Venice and a figure of Mickey Mouse. Furnishings include the architect’s lamps and shaggy cardboard armchairs. Beyond the glass, design teams cluster around models that grow in size and complexity as each project achieves its final form. Ideas sparked by raw materials, the folds of a medieval sculpture, or the manipulation of a sheet of paper are explored, manipulated, refined, and digitized to generate working drawings. Creating a world from wood shavings was a childhood pursuit, and modeling has always been the essential core of the creative process, for Gehry and his associates. It starts with blocks that define spaces and the way they relate to each other, and sometimes that early iteration emerges in the final design, as in the pyramid of rectilinear galleries in the Abu Dhabi Guggenheim project....

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