Frank Gehry was born on February 28, 1929 in Toronto, Canada. His parents, Irving and Thelma Caplan Goldberg
were both very creative people and Gehry was exposed to an artistic and inventive environment from a very young age. His social life however, was clouded by anti- Semitism and teasing throughout most of his teen years and affected him greatly throughout the rest of his life. He was teased as “fish” by many of his peers and developed a sort of obsession for the creatures which would only wear off through his sculptures in the 1980’s. For a large part of his life, Frank Gehry struggled with depression and paranoia of the future and these struggles are reflected in his work. Some may believe that his buildings are “weird” just for the sake of being weird but Gehry’s inventive and sculptural eye allows him to express his pain, anger and view of the world the way an artist would on a canvas. He not only creates buildings, but art. . After suffering from an economic blow in the 1940’s his family moved to Los Angeles in the hopes of finding a better life. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Gehry was forced to work to support his parents and was unable to attend school until later when he attended U.S.C. He was later drafted into the U.S Army in 1954 where he eventually began designing men’s dayrooms. These temporary structures mostly consisted of corrugated metal, chain link fencing and plywood – materials which would continue to reappear throughout Gehry’s work in the future. In 1956, Gehry began to attend Harvard Graduate School of Design but could not appreciate the style of teaching and in 1961 he traveled to Europe where he discovered a love for Romanesque building such as Worms Cathedral in Germany (something which he had unfortunately not been exposed to during his time at U.S.C). This, too, would reappear in some of his later work. One of Gehry’s buildings that illustrates his style and creative approach is his very own home in Santa Monica, CA. It is actually a renovation of an average 1920’s home where parts of the old and new are meant to interact. The renovation was done in a way where a dark new shell was added to parts of the exterior with parts of the old house still visible. Gehry spoke about this house and said that his
2“intention was that the combination of both would make the old house richer and the new house would be richer by association with the old” (Rizzoli 31). The
Gehry house is one of the many structures where Gehry incorporated his signature materials. The outer wall facing the street and the public is corrugated metal being pierced by a cubic window angled outward like a crystal piercing through a rock. Chain link fencing can be found here and there, adding to the effect of old within new with its transparency. And lastly, plywood makes up most of the stripped interior walls and outside steps. The “unfinished” appearance of the inner core surrounded by a protective and completed exterior is given a threefold...