Posts tagged with "Frank Gehry":

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Gehry Partners to design Extreme Model Railroad Museum in Massachusetts

The proposed Extreme Model Railroad Museum in North Adams, Massachusetts, will be designed by Gehry Partners and developed on a new site in the town. The original design by Gluckman Tang Architects sited in the town’s Heritage State Park will instead become a new Museum of Time based on the New York architect's design. The Berkshire Eagle initially revealed the appointment, and the museums have confirmed the news with The Architect's Newspaper (AN). AN has learned that Gehry is designing the train museum, adding that the project has increased from 32,000 square feet to 75,000 square feet.  In addition, the project is moving out of Heritage State Park and across the river to a different site. The projects, located on an 83,000-square-foot parcel on Christopher Columbus Drive, will be located just down the street from MASS MOCA, for which Gehry provided initial designs in 1987. Gehry has collaborated several times with the director of the new museums, Thomas Krens, former director of the Guggenheim Museum. Their most notable partnership came with the Guggenheim Bilbao in 1997. Gluckman Tang’s designs had called for large, pitched-roofed, warehouse-like spaces marked with sawtooth skylights. Gehry’s designs are still forthcoming.  The Architecture Museum will display large-scale art and architecture works and installations that would never fit in museums in cramped urban contexts. The Extreme Model Railroad Museum will feature scale model trains moving through architectural dioramas created by the likes of Gehry and Zaha Hadid. According to the Eagle, the current plans will cost about $65 million, and fundraising is ongoing. Krens—always ambitious—is also proposing to build the Massachusetts Museum of Time and a distillery in the area, and he’s suggested that Jean Nouvel design the city’s master plan. In addition, Gluckman Tang is doing a master plan for the city's Heritage Park and designing the new Global Contemporary Art Museum on the grounds of the local airport. William Menking contributed reporting. 
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Getty Research Institute acquires Frank Gehry archives

The Getty Research Institute (GRI) has acquired a major archive of work by Frank Gehry. The collection—known as The Frank Gehry Papers—contains material spanning over 30 years of the architect’s work and was acquired by the GRI through a combination of gifts and purchases. Thomas Gaehtgens, GRI director, touted the acquisition in a press release: “This extensive archive, covering the first three decades of his illustrious career, offers an in-depth look at the genesis of Gehry’s distinctive style and includes many of the projects for which he is internationally known.” The archive spans work produced during a period from 1954 to 1988. With the acquisition, the GRI is increasing its already expansive array of modern and contemporary architecture collections. The Gehry archives will serve to “connect with threads” between GRI’s expansive modern and contemporary architecture collections, according to Gaehtgens. The archive contains a combination of presentation and study models, project drawings, correspondence, photographs, slides, and sketches relating to 283 projects, roughly spanning the period between the Romm House and the competition entry for the Walt Disney Concert Hall. This era encompasses work on some of the architect’s most groundbreaking buildings. The archive contains roughly 1,000 sketches, 120,000 working drawings, 100,000 slides, and hundreds of boxes of records. There are also 168 working models and 112 presentation models in the collection. Importantly, the collection also includes various digital collections, including files pertaining to early designs for the Vitra museum from 1989, the Disney Concert Hall, and the perhaps soon to be realized Grand Avenue project. Certain works from the archive will be on view at the upcoming GRI exhibition Berlin/Los Angeles: A Space for Music that opens April 25. Maristella Casciato, senior curator of architectural collections at the GRI added that Gehry’s work during this period serves as an important bridge between the high modernism and early postmodern eras, saying “Gehry was a powerful figure in this evolution. He contributed to the essential concepts which put Los Angeles and its particular architectural vision at the center of the global architectural discourse.” In announcing the acquisition, Gehry stated, “I’m honored by the attention of the Getty Research Institute delving into the history of my work, my beginnings, and other things that I never thought anybody would be interested in” adding, “I’m very moved that this great institution, with its resources to search for the best examples of creativity in our world, has found me an interesting party. I will be forever grateful.”
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Frank Gehry to teach “The Future of Prison” course at SCI-Arc

This post is part of our years-long running Eavesdrop series (think page 6 for the architectural field). It’s your best source for gossip, insider stories, and more. Have an eavesdrop of your own? Send it to: eavesdrop[at]archpaper.com.

The Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) announced last winter that architect Frank Gehry would be teaching one of the school’s elective vertical studios for the spring 2017 semester. According to an image promoting the studio on the university’s Instagram, the studio is titled “The Future of Prison” and “calls on emerging architects to break free of current conventions and re-imagine what we now refer to as ‘prison’ for a new era.”

Could Gehry and his students re-imagine the carceral system the way his firm did with tourist-driven arts destinations? Perhaps the class could propose new designs for the Metropolitan Detention Center in Downtown Los Angeles, the 757-bed jail located just one mile from the SCI-Arc campus. The jail is due to be replaced sometime between 2027 and 2030 under the auspices of the city’s new Civic Center Master Plan. If rebuilt elsewhere, planners would be wise to look to Gehry’s SCI-Arc studio for ideas and inspiration.

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Is the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi dead?

  In a podcast posted on March 21, former Director of the Guggenheim Foundation, Thomas Krens, cast doubt on the near-future hopes of building the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, a project he helped set into motion in 2006. The museum, designed by Frank Gehry, was originally scheduled to open in 2012 and would be the largest branch of the Guggenheim to date. The project was one of several cultural institutions designed by the likes of Foster and Partners, Jean Nouvel, Zaha Hadid, and Tadao Ando as part of a larger plan for Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi. Construction of the Guggenheim has been delayed several times and, as of 2017, only Jean Nouvel’s Louvre Abu Dhabi is near completion. In his podcast interview with In Other Words, produced by the art advisory firm Art Agency Partners, Krens states that he believes these delays are intentional to help the city gauge the reaction of locals to the new development. Because the plans for this new cultural hub were drawn up in more “naïve” times, Krens thinks this type of development is just something that can’t happen in the current climate. “The world financial crisis and the Arab Spring has changed the equation radically,” said Krens in the interview. “It may not be such a good idea these days to have an American museum…with a Jewish name in a country [that doesn’t recognize Israel] in such a prominent location, at such a big scale.” The potential for the museum to be seen as a target for terrorism was a fear that the Guggenheim team addressed from the beginning of the project, and something Krens views as more worrisome now. “If I were them [Abu Dhabi local authorities], I would say we’re not abandoning our mission… to building these institutions, but we don’t need all five of them up and running at the same time,” said Krens in the interview. He also alludes that perhaps, in the future, there may be a better opportunity for the development and for further “cooperation and coordination.” For now, it seems the project is still on hold, although not without hope. In a statement to The Art Newspaper, a representative from the Guggenheim reiterated their support for the project and their continued work to make it happen: “The Guggenheim Foundation remains committed to the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and its transformative potential as a catalyst for exchange and for expanding the narratives of art history.” To find more information about the Saadiyat Island development, you can visit their website here. UPDATE 4/4/2017: The Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority has provided this comment:
Abu Dhabi remains committed to developing an innovative cultural destination on Saadiyat Island for Abu Dhabi's residents and visitors. Louvre Abu Dhabi is set to open this year, and together with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, we are unquestionably progressing with the development of Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. The programme and collection of the Museum have been progressing for the past years and we have recently launched The Creative Act: Performance, Process, Presence, the second exhibition of artworks from the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi collection. Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority is continuing the development of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi's curatorial narrative, collection and educational outreach with the expertise of the curatorial team to bring this museum to life.
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Gehry Partners breaks ground on 80,000-square-foot L.A. office complex

Los Angeles–based architects Gehry Partners and real estate developer NSB Associates have quietly started construction on an 80,000-square-foot creative office building in Los Angeles’s El Segundo area, establishing a new foothold for the region’s burgeoning Silicon Beach area. The new open-office structure is modeled on the traditional warehouse typologies that are typically being converted to office uses in other parts of the city, including the Arts District downtown. Instead of being organized in a typical manner with a sea of parking lots surrounding the warehouse structure, the project—named Ascend by the development team—is designed to be vertically-stacked, with office uses located above a covered parking structure. The complex is also designed with a large degree of exterior glazing, in contrast to many of the existing, often masonry construction warehouse structures being converted into office spaces. The complex is studded with large, floor-to-ceiling windows and 24-foot tall interior volumes. Sam Gehry—Frank Gehry's son who is also an architect—described the outdoor areas in a promotional video for the project, saying, "We're able to maximize the buildable area of the lot [by stacking the office above parking] to create this large floor plate building. Part of what that allowed us to do architecturally... [is to create] entries at four points on the podium level that [also] become nice outdoor amenities and outdoor space." The building will also contain roughly 16,000 square feet of private outdoor space accessible to the office areas that will double as circulation cores for the parking structure. The complex is to be located a short walk from the Green Line light rail line and is expected to be open for occupation by the fourth quarter of 2017. For more information, see the Ascend website.
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For $90, Frank Gehry will teach you architecture and design

Los Angeles architect Frank Gehry will be teaching architecture, design, and art on the online education platform Masterclass. It is the latest online program that lets anyone get an intro to the field—or allows architects to brush up on their skills. Gehry will share his philosophy on design and architecture from his enormous model archive, giving a glimpse into his creative process with case studies, progressive models, and storytelling. “I have tried to give the students insight into my process—how and why I did things. I hope this gives them the wings to explore and the courage to create their own language,” said Gehry. The renowned architect joins other MasterClass instructors, including Serena Williams, who taught a tennis workshop, and Christina Aguilera, who gave students a singing lesson. For more information, visit their website.
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After Trump’s election, Frank Gehry may self-exile himself to France

This post is part of our years-long running Eavesdrop series (think page 6 for the architectural field). It’s your best source for gossip, insider stories, and more. Have an eavesdrop of your own? Send it to: eavesdrop[at]archpaper.com.

Following Donald Trump’s election, renowned architect Frank Gehry might be exiling himself to France. At least, that’s what French newspaper Le Figaro reports. The newspaper quotes Gehry as saying, “If Trump is elected, [French President Francois] Hollande said I could go into exile in France.” Apparently, the architect has plenty to fear from a Trump presidency, citing a long-standing dispute with the President-Elect as reason enough to flee the country. The incident stems from 2010 when Gehry’s Beekman Tower beat out Trump’s building next door for the title of tallest residential building in New York City by a few inches. Both buildings have since been surpassed, but as we’ve learned, a few inches matter quite a lot to the President-Elect, so maybe Gehry would be wise to book a flight to Paris.

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L.A. Conservancy sues City of Los Angeles over Frank Gehry project

The Los Angeles Conservancy is suing the City of Los Angeles for “blatantly disregarding environmental law” and violating the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) by approving the Gehry Partners—designed 8150 Sunset development last month. The $300 million mixed-use project has faced community push-back from all sides, especially from wealthy neighbors who contested the project’s height, density, and parking provisions, even though the project is located on the Sunset Strip commercial corridor. Those partisans won out over the course of the approval process, as developers and even Frank Gehry himself, in an in-person testimonial before the Planning and Land Use Management Committee (PLUM), pledged to rework the project to ameliorate community concerns. At that meeting, the starchitect said, “I’m going to make it, as best I can, something special for the community. Something that we would all be proud of.” The development was ultimately approved by PLUM and, later on, the L.A. City Council, but with a few caveats. In a nod to the neighbors’ concerns, the project’s residential towers were approved with a 56-foot height reduction, an additional number of affordable housing units, and increased number of parking stalls. Overall, the project will contain 229 market rate units, including 38 affordable units, 65,000 square feet of commercial space, and 494 parking spaces in a group of rumpled towers located on a site featuring multiple public plazas and ground-floor retail. But one point the designers and developers behind the project would not flex on—and that neither PLUM nor the L.A. City Council were eager to emphasize—was whether to save the historic, modernist-style Lytton Savings bank building currently occupying a portion of the site from demolition. The iconic structure, which features a striking folded concrete roof and large expanses of glass, became a rallying point for preservationists who were not necessarily against the project, per se, but hoped the developers would incorporate the structure into the proposal. The bank building was designed in 1960 by Kurt Meyer and since plans were announced, a group of preservationists rallied around saving the structure. The structure was quickly nominated as a Historic Cultural Monument (HCM) status by Friends of Lytton Savings. HCM status offers some degree of protection against demolition, except that PLUM delayed the structure's nomination and the L.A. City Council was able to approve 8150 Sunset in the augmented form described above. The building’s existence is now in peril, and as a result, the Los Angeles Conservancy has filed suit to “force the City of Los Angeles’s compliance with (CEQA).” The Conservancy argues that under CEQA regulations, a project must “avoid significant impacts such as the demolition of a historical resource if the fundamental project objectives can be met without demolition.” The Conservancy’s logic stems from a series of development proposals incorporated into the Environmental Impact Report (found here) developed as part of the project’s approval process that called for reusing the structure as part of the commercial component of the Gehry Partners development (the building currently operates as a Chase Bank branch). Those alternatives, however, were shut out of consideration by the developers, who simply preferred to start with a blank site. Previously, Adrian Scott Fine, director of advocacy for the LA Conservancy, had told The Architect’s Newspaper that the Gehry project would “unnecessarily demolish a historic cultural monument,” and added,  “there’s a very clear way for this project to move forward while preserving the bank building.”  Friends of Lytton Savings founder Steven Luftman told The Architect's Newspaper via email that his group is "still proceeding with the Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument (HCM) application with the full support of Councilmember David Ryu. The application goes to a vote with the LA City Council on Wednesday December 7th."  When asked whether the group would support relocating the endangered structure as part of a comprehensive preservation approach, Luftman replied, "We continue to believe the best solution is for the building to remain at its current site. Incorporating this city's rich architectural past with the new project can lead to an exciting and vibrant development," adding "(Lytton Savings) functions beautifully as a bank and it has wonderful potential for adaptive reuse. Once the alternatives are appropriately explored, as a last resort we would consider a sincere commitment by the developer to relocate the building." For now, however, the Lytton Savings bank stands imperiled as part of a long line of Modernist structures falling to the wrecking ball and the project stands to move forward as approved.
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Maya Lin and Frank Gehry to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Two designers are among the 21 Americans chosen this month to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. President Barack Obama selected architect-artist Maya Lin and architect Frank Gehry to receive the medal, presented annually to individuals who have made “especially meritorious contributions” to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors. The medals will be presented at the White House on November 22. “The Presidential Medal of Freedom is not just our nation's highest civilian honor—it's a tribute to the idea that all of us, no matter where we come from, have the opportunity to change this country for the better,” Obama said in announcing the recipients. “From scientists, philanthropists, and public servants to activists, athletes, and artists, these 21 individuals have helped push America forward, inspiring millions of people around the world along the way." Lin was cited in the White House announcement as “an artist and designer who is known for her work in sculpture and landscape art. She designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. and since then has pursued a celebrated career in both art and architecture. A committed environmentalist, Lin is currently working on a multi-sited artwork/memorial, What is Missing? bringing awareness to the planet's loss of habitat and biodiversity.” Gehry was described as “one of the world’s leading architects, whose works have helped define contemporary architecture. His best-known buildings include the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Dancing House in Prague, and the Guggenheim Museum building in Bilbao, Spain.” Obama’s 2016 list includes 19 living Americans and 2 who have died, and is heavy on figures from the entertainment and sports industries. Others joining Lin and Gehry include: Ellen DeGeneres, Robert De Niro, Robert Redford, Lorne Michaels, Diana Ross, Vin Scully, Bill and Melinda Gates, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Bruce Springsteen, Cicely Tyson and Tom Hanks/David S. Pumpkins.
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Yours for $150,000: this lead fish sculpture by Frank Gehry

Up for auction at Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA) is a 44-inch long, 14-inch wide, and 12-inch high lead fish. Made by Frank Gehry between 1987 and 1988, the untitled sculpture was a custom commission for the Toronto offices of advertising agency Chiat/Day. The work also comes complete with a white enameled bathtub; the fish rests on glass that mimics water. Mark Linder, author of Nothing Less than Literal, studied Gehry's fascination with the figure of the fish. Linders detailed how fish have been prevalent in Gehry's life since he was a boy. When living in Toronto, Gehry's grandma, Lillian Caplan, would keep live carp in the bath, using them to make gefilte fish for traditional Jewish Sabbath suppers. Perhaps that was the inspiration for Gehry's lead creation? Speculation may, however, may be all we can do—the end of the line (pardon the pun). Speaking in the Globe and Mail, Gehry rubbished any fishy connections between Caplan's carp and his architecture, saying that they have "nothing to do with that house, nothing to do with the fish in the bathtub."

According to Linder, though, Gehry viewed the fish as an "empty signifier." Being "architecturally dumb," the fish's abstraction from architecture allowed the celebrated Canadian architect to "rethink architectural forms" from a withdrawn perspective. The fish was "anti-architecture" and "anti-humanist." Gehry played with these ideas at a time when referencing history and humanist themes were prevalent postmodern qualities in architecture.

Peter Loughrey, director of Modern Design & Fine Art, said in a press release:
Probably more than any architect, Gehry liked to incorporate fine art and sculpture into his work. More freedom was available to him as an artist than with buildings. In 1970s he liked cardboard because it’s a material where you go from concept to prototype to finished product in one day. Gehry identifies as a an artist more than any other architect.
The fish and bathtub is currently estimated at $100,000-$150,000. Bids can be made online here.
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Gehry complex on Sunset Strip approved with affordable housing component

A tweaked configuration for Gehry Partners’ $300-million design for 8150 Sunset was approved by the Los Angeles City Planning Commission (LACPC) this week, marking a big step forward for what could be one of L.A.’s newest architectural icons. As part of the approval, Gehry’s 249-unit, mixed use project, containing 65,000 square feet of retail space, will need to include 37 units of affordable housing, instead of the 28 originally proposed. The increase, requested by the LACPC, comes out to about 15% of the overall unit count, a lower percentage than is typical in area municipalities that have an inclusionary housing mandate. The City of Los Angeles itself does not have an inclusionary housing requirement, though one is potentially in the works. The 8150 Sunset Boulevard complex, developed by L.A.-based Townscape Partners, has fanned the type of neighborhood discontent that has become par-for-the course in the housing-deficient region, with a local councilperson and aggrieved area residents decrying the size, height, and potential traffic implications of the 334,000 square foot mixed use project. Organized as a rumpled mish-mash of layered, vertically-oriented facade panels and bulging volumes with punched openings, the complex rises to various heights in a medley of configurations, typically between five and 15 stories above the city’s famed Sunset Strip. The project’s site will be carved up into various tree-lined public plazas, including a monumental staircase on the corner facing the famed Chateau Marmont. Though the project has been cleared by the LACPC, it’s not totally out of the woods yet. An iconic mid-century structure on the site, currently housing a Chase Bank branch, has been nominated as a local historic cultural monument in efforts to save the structure from demolition. If the structure is indeed approved as a landmark during a hearing scheduled for August 18th, its demolition could face challenges, complicating the viability of Townscape Partners’ proposed project. A California Environmental Impact Report submitted for the project details a scheme that incorporates the structure’s reuse by reducing the overall retail component of the project and increasing the overall unit count to 291 dwellings.
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The Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid exhibits at the Venice Biennale

The Venice architecture biennale has released a list of 19 official collateral events taking place around the city during the biannual (in even years) event. It’s a fascinating list of projects, installations, national design programs, and it’s diversity shows why this is still the best event in the architecture calendar. But there are also dozens of unofficial events worth checking out. Here are two: Building in Paris by Frank Gehry at the Esapce Louis Vuitton (Calle del Ridotto 1353, 30124 Venezia) and Zaha Hadid at the Palazzo Franchetti on Campo Santo Stefano. The Gehry exhibit claims to “retrace the story of Frank Gehry’s dream through a selection of scale models themed by program, project design, interior spaces, “icebergs,” and glass sails. This exhibit also features an installation by Daniel Buren that incorporates the glass roof of the Esapce Louis Vuitton. The Zaha Hadid exhibit is a retrospective of the late, spectacular architect and was quickly assembled by Patrik Schumacher as a memorial. Both of these are on view through the run of the biennale, November 29th. Building in Paris May 27 – November 26, 2016 Monday – Saturday, 10:00am - 7.30pm, Sunday, 10.30am - 7.30p Espace Louis Vuitton Venezia, Calle del Ridotto 1353, 30124 Venezia #FondationLouisVuitton Zaha Hadid May 27 – November 26, 2016 Monday– Sunday, 10:00am - 6:00pm (10 euro entry fee, group rates available) Palazzo Franchetti