Today is Frank Gehry’s 84th Birthday – Happy birthday!!!
To the initiated, his work looks a little like the cake you baked and decorated and then accidentally dropped on the floor. Or the model airplane you built only to crash into a tree. But make no mistake, Frank Gehry is a superstar in the world of architecture. When the pharisees of the craft said: “form follows function.” Mr. Gehry said: “Why?” Why can form not follow anything? What about form for the sake of form? Form because form can be beautiful, compelling, astonishing and function can just do the best it can with form. I can’t look at Mr. Gehry’s body of work without feeling whimsy. He’s one part leaning tower of Pizza and one part Gaudi, the centuries ahead of his time architect from Catalan.
So, Mr. Gehry believed, evidently, that form could stand on its own two feet. Speaking of standing, you look at the buildings and wonder how they stand at all. They’re tilted, twisted and generally deconstructed. Perhaps this is why he is often placed in a category of architecture known as decontructivism. If you want something that makes sense based on preconceived notions or something that fits in or something that looks like the way you would do it, he’s not your man. Every building seems to make a social statement along the lines of: it doesn’t have to be that way.
There’s a world after the modern world in which virtually everything is “on the table.” It’s scary; it’s exciting; it’s hopeful. Happy Birthday Frank!