Sunday, July 27, 2008

Gehry in Brittania

I'm looking forward to seeing the Gehry summer pavilion at the Serpentine in a few week's time. The jury is out for a long lunch on whether the Canadian starchitect is one of the greats, eventually to take his place in the pantheon alongside Frank Lloyd Wright or Le Corbusier. There's a good piece on the pavilion and the man by Stephen Bayley here.


Anonymous,  5:21 pm  

Jeremy, Frank Gehry designed one of the libraries in my college (Princeton). At a cost of $70-80 million, you'd expect something special, no? It was a monstrosity - much of it was made of titanium (which gets expensive fast). Apart from one of his works in Spain (there are websites with all his works), I think the man's works are generally a disaster. He has a reputation of paying no attention to practicalities - and this was quite obvious in his work at Princeton, with impossible angles here and there, a ridiculous roof, etc.

No prices for guessing what the main attraction was at reunions when the alum came back! The question on everybody's lips was: "What the heck is that monstrosity doing on our campus?"

Gehry ko, Gehry ni.

Anonymous,  2:04 pm  

$70 million is nothing for a big building these days, and titanium is a wonderful material: very strong, very light. Expensive, yes, but you get what you pay for.

As for Gehry, while I disagree with the dismissal of the guy's whole career like that (the Disney building looks fine, as does this Serpentine thing), I definitely wouldn't class him with the modern greats. He's a showman, who basically has one or two (very good) tricks. He serves those who traffic in inflated reputations, visually bold (and sometimes crass) buildings.

In terms of building, he's certainly not as interesting as Renzo Piano or Herzog & De Meuron. Or even Hadid. In theoretical terms, in terms of pushing the discourse on architecture forward, he's got nothing on Koolhaas.

I know Le Corbusier, and Mr Gehry ain't no Le Courbusier!

Anonymous,  6:53 pm  

@ anon 2:04, the library is a very small building, so it was a heck of a lot of money for such a small building.

Anonymous,  1:18 pm  

stumbled on this quite accidentally yest, walking thru the park, minding our own bidniz, looking for the Princess Di Memorial fountain... one of the kids said, 'Mom, look, that's cool'. So we walked over, and it is. Its light and airy and clean with lots of lines and space...
To all the naysayers out there, forget "reviwers",come experience it yourselves, walk under the spectacular roof and make up your minds then.
Dont hate, appreciate.

Anonymous,  11:23 am  

The serpentine pavillions are temporary structures that give a "snippet" of the featured architects work and i will not really judge him by that.

However i did go last sunday and i found it interesting but not amazing, not a fan of his deconstructivist architecture anyway. Having been to Bilbao to see the breadth taking Guggenheim museum (among his other work) i do count him as one of the greats.

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