Encountering work of Frank Gehry – Trip to Paris and Bilbao

Bilbao, Spain 141030

” …When the building is finished,…I worry that it is some kind of bizarre thing… I want to crawl under the blankets. When i saw Bilbao for the first time, I said,” oh my God, what have I done to these people?” I think that is a problem, but for better or worse, that is who I am.” – Frank Gehry

In one bright afternoon at the edge of nervion river. My mind is wondering, Norman Foster is truly master in neo Modernist approach, a god of life, an apollo, he has been my favorite architect who I was quite keen to learn from in his office. The label God of Life, Apollo was stated by Chris Abel. I was sure that Norman’s principle was truly a must do principle of doing architecture, Norman Foster is still one hero and master of fundamentals that i love most who like what Oscar Niemeyer said about him in his talk with Oscar Niemeyer.

Few days ago, in one rainy day i just arrived in Paris, commuting from Bastil to Rambuteau. I went to Gehry’s exhibition by serendipity in Pompidou Center Paris, a building which was designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers. I saw models by gehry And partners stunned me. It was so beautiful. It was Like Van Gogh’s or Bernini’s or Affandi’s masterpiece. It opens into new possibilities, movement, New ideas, free form, unlimited line. It is almost perfect, And then i determined to see his work. A man who was stated by Chris Abel as Dionysus, god of pleasure.

in conclusion at that time I just love this man’s work, Frank Gehry, his building, persona and ideas in Louis Vuitton Foundation and Guggenheim Bilbao. I found that despite all of he pre assumption that (he was insensitive, he did not listen to his client, the building was not thinking about urban setting, he was driven by his ego trip) concluded by some of my peers, was wrong in his idea in these two magnificent work. After I finished read several of his books, publications, his catalogue, his interview with Barbara Isenberg or even his lecture’s video during our trip in this few days in Europe.
I found that He is such humble, down to earth man who is very smart, very sensitive, and ideas driven which sometimes his was failed to catch by others.

“Frank : People think that somebody who does this kind of out-there work that they haven’t seen before must be irresponsible and must no be interested in budgets or time schedules or the client, or the community is going to be in. They characterize it as an ego trip by superstar architects. Now in some cases it may be true, but it’s not in mine. It’s no accident that Disney Hall works. Enerst Fleisch man could tell you what happened. did Ernest tell you how I listened to him?

Barbara : Yes he did tell me that. in fact, several people I’ve interviewed recently said that one of your best traits is that you listen. I was just reading remarks by Matthew Teitelbaum, director of the Art Gallery of Ontario, who said that from the very beginning you “insistenly asked” about the museum’s needs and programming.

Frank : So put that in big letters : Gehry is a listener. He is not on an ego trip.” [1]

I found that in Guggenheim, the design responded beautifully by the axial opening from city axis to river. The pond designed as extension of the river creating architecture manipulation so the shape looked as dancing on the water bringing reflection of the solid. The atrium acts as breathing space creating a void before entering multi solid gallery. The sun light coming pass flower or fish or whatever people name the skylight bringing warmth which lighten space. Sometimes it might remind us who are same human under the same sun who challenge our origin. The shape perhaps was comin by free flow creativity reminded about gaudi’s, altoo’s, corbusier’s curvy line (Ronchamp) He took it into another level by introducing thereshold of such total curvy lines in creating architecture. [2]
He devised a totally new type of museum, aiming to give the visitor the choice to design his own itinerary to explore the museum, Gehry imagined an atrium that directyle connected with all exhibtion areas, in such a way that after contemplating the works in a determined wing, the visitor had to go back through the atrium to get to another area in the Museum. [3]

In Foundation of Louis Vuitton, Gehry made a clear approach for a phase of creative process in creating poetic of architecture called creative pregnancy phase stated by Antoniades in his book Poetics of Architecture. He was 84 years old when the building was opened and was praised by his patrons, collegue, and people who went for queing to enter his building. Christian Reyne, executive director, Fondation Louis Vuitton in chare of project management stated that the new approach in this project were new way of organizing the work called the “fundamentals phase.” This intermediary phase involved deciding on the main principle of the building’s conception notably the structural elements, the use of geothermal heating, and the distribution of fluids by means of radiant floors. It made it possible to fix certain parameters of construction in order to move the project forward without having to wait for the finalization of the studies. Reyner stated that the work was done in day to day basis with single 3d, and it has interactive period between architects , engineers, and general contractor which contributed to the factors in the project’s ultimate success. [4]

How can we measure this man ? When some design project he did it in effort to create inclusivist approach which dated back, some of the projects, he did it in minimum fee or even for free to enrich ‘take and give relationship between him and his patrons. Thats life when some of our life, we should dedicate it for others. I felt emphatic for this man of honour in architecture manipulation and the way of doing architecture as profession or as in his life especialy when it culminated in these two buildings that I had seen. That’s why we can call him master, or deconstructivist master or whoever you like smile emoticon who deconstructs profession, design as usual bringing future human creativity into such spiritual adventure eventhough he refused that label.

Before I could collect thoughts about what went right, I just burst into tears.

[1] Conversations with Frank Gehry, Barbara Isenberg,
[2] Trip by Realrich to Guggenheim in 2014
[3] Museum guggenheim Bilbao, Architect Frank O. Gehry’s Most Original Work
[Fondation Louis Vuitton, pp 122

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