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Aspen Ideas Fest 2009: Frank Gehry, as interviewed by Thomas Pritzker

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Aspen Ideas Fest 2009: Frank Gehry, as interviewed by Thomas Pritzker

| aia, architects, architecture | July 06, 2009

It was clear that Frank Gehry is self-aware from the introductory biographic notes that Pritzker read: “Frank Gehry has been the subject of a Simpsons episode…” was how it began. Gehry is often dismissed as the worst offender among “starchitects” seeking iconic memorials to their own talents, ala Howard Roark. And maybe it’s that his advanced age has offered him some more perspective (Gehry is 80), but this interview made it clear that his well-known style was mostly accidental. Here are my observations from watching the session:

1. He came from very humble beginnings.

Gehry was driving a truck  at age 19 or 20, and taking some college classes as night. In one pottery class, he became friendly with the instructor, who invited Gehry to visit his home while it was under construction. Gehry was taken with the design and construction process he observed, so the professor recommended an architecture course, which the professor then paid for when Gehry couldn’t afford it.

2. Disney’s lawyers treated him pretty badly.

When Gehry was announced as being on the short list for the Disney Concert Hall, the family’s attorneys called a meeting with him too provide him with a list of things that he couldn’t do in the project. The meeting ended with the lead attorney declaring that he “would never let them put the Disney family name on something he designed.” (In the end, Gehry chose brass railings throughout the widely-acclaimed project because they had been on the attorney’s early list of forbidden things.)

3. He was mostly pre-occupied with the interior acoustic functions in designing Disney Concert Hall.

Full article via Parrot blog

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After working at various design practices on a full-time and freelance basis, and starting his own design firm, David McFadden saw that there was a gap to be filled in the industry. In 1984, he created an expansive hub for architects and hiring firms to sync up, complete projects, and mutually benefit. That hub was Consulting For Architects Inc., which enabled architects to find meaningful design work, while freeing hiring firms from tedious hiring-firing cycles. This departure from the traditional, more rigid style of employer-employee relations was just what the industry needed - flexibility and adaption to modern work circumstances. David has successfully advised his clients through the trials and tribulations of four recessions – the early 80’s, the early 90’s, the early 2000’s, and the Great Recession of 2007.

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