Frank Gehry


The Australian - Wish Magazine - - Front Page - David Meagher Ed­i­tor

There are not many ar­chi­tect’s of­fices where you are asked to sign a con­fi­den­tial­ity agree­ment be­fore you’re al­lowed past the re­cep­tion area, but that is ex­actly what hap­pened when WISH vis­ited Frank Gehry in his work­place in Los An­ge­les re­cently. Our pho­tog­ra­phy in his of­fice was strictly con­trolled for fear that we might catch a sen­si­tive or con­fi­den­tial scale model of a build­ing some­where in the frame.

But then there are not many ar­chi­tects like Frank Gehry. His been called the world’s great­est liv­ing ar­chi­tect. He’s de­signed build­ings that have been praised as be­ing “among the most pro­found and bril­liant works of ar­chi­tec­ture of our time”, ac­cord­ing to The New York Times. And then there’s the fa­mous Gehry ef­fect – the power of one of his build­ings to trans­form an en­tire city. Yet at the same time, his de­signs have oc­ca­sion­ally po­larised opin­ions.

He’s also, at the age of 85, one of the world’s most in-de­mand ar­chi­tects. Late last month he cut the rib­bon on a build­ing in Paris, the Fon­da­tion Louis Vuit­ton, the likes of which the French cap­i­tal has not seen be­fore. The mu­seum, which will dis­play Louis Vuit­ton’s ex­ten­sive art col­lec­tion as well as other exhibitions and events for the lux­ury brand, is the fo­cus of our pro­file on Gehry this month. In our in­ter­view, Gehry also dis­cusses his re­cently com­pleted first build­ing in Aus­tralia. The strik­ing Dr Chau Chak Wing build­ing at the Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy is due to of­fi­cially open in Fe­bru­ary but it is al­ready caus­ing traf­fic jams as driv­ers stop to get a look at its spec­tac­u­lar curvi­lin­ear brick­work. Gehry is an ar­chi­tect who em­pha­sises the art in ar­chi­tec­ture and when asked to de­scribe the de­sign of his build­ings he talks about philos­phy and art and even mu­sic as much as the build­ing it­self. At the same time he’s also happy to chat about much more mun­dane things like bud­gets. Gehry says he prides him­self on bring­ing in his build­ings on bud­get. “I’m nuts about that stuff,” he says. “The UTS build­ing is on bud­get – within three per cent – and I’m very proud of that be­cause when you look at it you think, ‘oh that’s got to be ex­pen­sive’. It wasn’t cheap, but it was on bud­get and the bud­get was a ra­tio­nal one.”

This is our an­nual de­sign is­sue and it in­cludes a spe­cial re­port on this year’s win­ners of the Aus­tralian In­sti­tute of Ar­chi­tects Na­tional Awards, which were an­nounced in Dar­win last night. Our 11-page re­port, which starts on page 34, in­cludes all the win­ners in ev­ery cat­e­gory.

Also in this is­sue is a pro­file of ris­ing Aus­tralian de­sign star Henry Wilson, the new cre­ative di­rec­tor of Tif­fany & Co, Francesca Am­fithe­atrof (the first woman to hold that job in the brand’s 177-year his­tory), and a story about get­ting back to de­sign ba­sics with lead­ing ar­chi­tect John War­dle.

Our in­ter­view with Gehry cov­ered a wide range of ar­chi­tec­tural top­ics and un­for­tu­nately we weren’t able to in­clude them all in this edi­tion. An ex­tended in­ter­view, a gallery of his works and a se­ries of videos with him can be found on our web­site.

We hope you en­joy the is­sue.

WISH ed­i­tor David Meagher and pho­tog­ra­pher James Cant in ar­chi­tect Frank Gehry’s mem­o­ra­bilia-lined of­fice

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