The Architect's Studio: Frank O.Gehry

A visit to the exhibition The Architect's Studio: Frank 0. Gehry in the Balcony Room and Gallery of the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAI) allows the public to enter the world of the architect.
It would appear as if Gehry's design studio has rented the rooms as additional office space. There are models everywhere in all shapes and sizes, countless sketches lying around, and computer screens showing three-dimensional images of buildings. The space is also actually being used as a studio. During the exhibition, students of architecture will make a large model (scale 1:10) of the Weatherhead School. Other material in the exhibition shows various stages in the design process of many other projects. The visitor can choose from this unique wealth of information and follow the development of a building right through to the detailing.

In contrast to earlier reports, Frank Gehry will not be able to attend the opening on September 11, 1999. Instead, he will visit the NM in October 20, 1999. A special activity will be organized to mark the visit.

The creative process
Gehry's method of working is based largely on intuition. By visiting the location, and through conversations and the study of literature and music, he tries to get to know as much as possible about the local culture and people. And essential for a fruitful collaboration in his view is a client who shares his enthusiasm.
Immediately, usually in the airplane back home, he starts to sketch in order to 'find' the future building. Although these sketches cannot be fathomed by anyone other than Gehry, their similarity to the eventual building is always striking.
Back at his office in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Gehry continues the design process using building blocks. He always designs in a pragmatic way and works from the inside-out. Blocks are placed in all manner of configurations in order to explore the spatial relationships. Each block represents a certain function in the building.
The design process continues by construction of a wide range of models of varying size and material. These are constantly changed on the spot. The variety ensures that a model never becomes an object that must be left untouched. No less than 90 of the 120 people working at the office are model-makers.
Only when Gehry is happy with the result does the process move to the next stage: the production of working drawings and digital interpretations of the model on the computer.
All these steps in the process of making a building can be closely followed in the exhibition.

In the end, all the exhibited items - drawings, models, computer models, etcetera - are to Gehry no more than working tools. The only thing that really matters is the eventual building. After a visit to the exhibition, the only thing left to do is head to the travel agency. The choice of destination is not made any easier by the wide choice of amazing projects on show in the exhibition. They include the famous Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the Weatherhead School of Management in Cleveland, the Vitra International Furniture Manufacturing Facility and Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, the Nationale Nederlanden Building (Fred and Ginger) in Prague and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Many other projects are also shown in detail - from single houses to enormous office complexes. Moreover, the exhibition includes the striking cardboard chairs and also the furniture designs that Gehry made for KNOLL.

LA School
Gehry's work has acquired its own following. One office considered to be one of the LA School is Morphosis, which is the subject of an exhibition in the Main Hall from September 4, 1999, to January 16, 2000. The work of the LA School is characterized by an inventive use and informal juxtaposition of raw industrial materials, a preference for fragmentation and complexity, and carefully crafted details.

The exhibition The Architect's Studio: Frank 0. Gehry was developed for the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humblebaek, Denmark November 1998 - February 1999) and arose out of a collaboration between Frank 0. Gehry himself, curator Kjeld Kjeldsen of the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, and architect/curator Kirsten Kiser, who was at the office of Gehry for a long period in order to prepare the exhibition and select the material.