Sunday, March 01, 2009

Frank Gehry at 80

Big-name architect Frank Gehry turned 80 on Saturday, and the L.A. Times ran a profile and assessment of his work, from architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne. (Gehry's Disney Hall in Los Angeles is at left, courtesy of the L.A. Times.)

The recession has hit his practice hard: Two major projects, Grand Avenue in Los Angeles and Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn, have been put on hold, and Gehry has half the staff he did a year ago. Interestingly, the piece points out that the reputation of the once-hailed Gehry is shifting.

" ... The virtuosic approach to design that Gehry has embodied since his Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, opened to rapturous acclaim in 1997 faces an increasingly pointed critique within his profession."
And it has this interesting rumination about younger architects' view of Gehry' work and that of other celebrity architects:
"They are less interested in the bravura, photogenic icons that Gehry has lately produced – so-called signature buildings by a so-called starchitect – and more compelled by eco-friendly designs or anti-poverty efforts such as those aimed at providing affordable housing in rural areas. Other young architects are looking beyond the star model of architectural practice and toward communal, even anonymous, design initiatives."