Design Spotlight: Frank Gehry

Frank Gehry is a Canadian-American architect known for postmodern designs, including the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.

 “Liquid architecture. It's like jazz—you improvise, you work together, you play off each other, you make something, they make something. And I think it's a way of—for me, it's a way of trying to understand the city, and what might happen in the city.”
—Frank Gehry

Frank Gehry was born Frank Owen Goldberg in Toronto, Canada on February 28, 1929.

He studied at the University of Southern California and Harvard University. Gehry, based in Los Angeles since the 1960s, is among the most acclaimed architects of the 20th century, and is known for his use of bold, postmodern shapes and unusual fabrications.

Gehry relocated to Los Angeles in 1949, holding a variety of jobs while attending college. He would eventually graduate from the University of Southern California's School of Architecture. It was during his time that he changed his Goldberg surname to Gehry, in an effort to preclude anti-Semitism. 

After leaving Harvard, Frank Gehry returned to California, making a name for himself with the launch of his "Easy Edges" cardboard furniture line. The Easy Edges pieces, crafted from layers of corrugated cardboard, sold between 1969 and 1973.

In 2011, Gehry returned to his roots as a residential designer, unveiling his first skyscraper, 8 Spruce Street in New York City, and the Opus Hong Kong tower in China.

Gehry is known for his choice of unusual materials as well as his architectural philosophy. His selection of materials such as corrugated metal lends some of Gehry's designs an unfinished or even crude aesthetic.

In recent years, Gehry has served as a professor of architecture at Columbia University, Yale and the University of Southern California. He has also served as a board member at USC's School of Architecture, his alma mater.

Gehry has played himself on television programs, including The Simpsons, and has appeared in advertisements for Apple. In 2005, director Sydney Pollack made a documentary film, Sketches of Frank Gehry, focusing on the architect's work and legacy.

Gehry's architectural firm is based in Los Angeles.