Design, Photography, & Fashion

Design Philosophy: Part 2

Frank Gehry

Lesson time 13:58 min

Frank dives deeper into the theories he considers crucial to every architect's design process.

Play
Frank Gehry
Teaches Design and Architecture
In 17 lessons, Frank teaches his unconventional philosophy on architecture, design, and art.
Get All-Access

Preview

If you're building a building in the middle of a city, there is, I think, a responsibility to respect your neighbor, like you would anyway, so architecturally respect your neighbor. Somebody looks at Disney Hall, they say, hell, you just ignored everything around it. What are you talking about respect? You just made a big shiny thing and it just-- it gives the finger to the Chandler. But it doesn't, I mean if you spend some time with it. As you come down Grand Avenue, the Chandler curves. So I opened the curve to the entrance. And I was careful to do that I made the new building out of smaller parts, so it wasn't one big building like the Chandler, so it wasn't competing as a Chandler. It had its own body language. And so those moves are very small in the scale, but they do count for a lot. In the tower I did in New York, I was next to the Woolworth Building. The Woolworth Building is a beautiful old building. I have a lot of respect for it. And so I didn't put a cap on it. I respect the Woolworth Building as a beautiful sculptural cap on it. And I didn't want to mimic it. I wanted it to say, you got the hat. I'm respecting your seniority. And I think that kind of respect your neighbors architecturally is important to me. I looked at the material that was most used worldwide that everybody hated, and that was chain link fencing. And so I thought, OK. Let me see if I can make something out of it that they'll like. Well, I got guffaws and everything for years. Today even, people who don't really-- are not really interested or intellectually involved still look at it. Oh, you're the chain link guy. A friend of mine built a tennis court. He made fun of me with chain link. I went to his house and he had a tennis court, which is surrounded in chain link that you could see from every room of his house. He bought a fancy Bel Air mansion. And he was so proud of it. And he's the guy that made the most fun of me with chain link. And I went to look at it. And I said, gee, I'm sorry. I converted you to that dastardly material. He said, what are you talking about? I said, that thing out there. That's chain link. He said, no, that's a tennis court. I was designing an entrance piece for a house I was doing in Ohio for a wealthy guy, a good friend. And when you see the final thing, you think it's a skull of an animal like a horse. And so we call it the Horse's Head. But when I was designing for this guy's house and I didn't know it was Horse's Head and I didn't know it was going to look like that, I sort of was trusting my intuition to create something that was an ephemeral image in my mind that I couldn't quantify or draw. I could sketch and do things with it. But in this case, I tried to design it on the computer, because I realized if we could do that, that would save a lot of time and effor...


Create the extraordinary

At 19 years old, Frank Gehry was a truck driver taking sculpture classes at night school. His vision for what architecture could accomplish went on to reshape our cities’ skylines and the imaginations of artists and designers around the world. In his online architecture class, this master builder invites you into his never-before-seen model archive for a look into his creative process.



Reviews

4.7
Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Frank, your masterclass was exceptional: heartfelt, insightful, integral and vital for the growth and determination of both humanity and design. I am forever grateful. Now, I look forward to beginning again: I will review and undertake these classes again. There is so much to glean from every moment shared. Thank you, and bravo Masterclass.

Magic, I found the tempo and firm but oddly scatty nature of the story to be a really peaceful experience. I think I learnt to be a little more patient and hopefully going forward I will catch myself in time to notice and consider my surroundings .

I would have liked to have heard about more buildings, the design process and particular influences, The best thing was Gehry;s humiloty and engaging style of presenting,

it is very interesting how Professor Gehry introduce us to a realistic process of developing the architecture and the impact in his life.


Comments

Monique A.

had seen pictures of David by Michelangelo in books but seeing it in person blew me away! The detail is incredible. You can see every vein and even the pores in the skin on his ginormous hands. It has been a long time since I have done life drawing so my sketching skills are a little out of practice. Frank also spoke about computer design eliminating the human touch. I remember visiting MOMA in New York and my favourite pieces in the whole collection were a bunch of old hand drawn architectural drawings. They were amazing and had so much more life in them, and told you so much more than CAD drawings. I always find CAD drawings have a flatness to them

Colette

The download for this lesson is not working. Error message: This XML file does not appear to have any style information associated with it. The document tree is shown below.

Robert Lewis H.

I believe Frank would be blown away by using 'Tiltbrush' Oculuc system using VR Headset. All architects should paint, write, sculpt...all creative formats...constantly. Rise of the creative class is on the horizon. Continuous, daily creativity is so so important. VR is the latest way to create...enjoy.

Karl A.

One of the only Architectural Phd holders in the Melanesian region always told us to always begin with your design on paper/ sketches before CADing it... how true! :)

Maya H.

Here's a sketch of one of my favourite Zaha Hadid buildings, along with some of my own "signature doodles."

Marijne K.

I think the first time I saw architecture, the first time I truely saw it, was in a picture book on the work of Frank L. Wright. I remember flipping through the pages, looking at houses and buildings, not looking at anything in particular. Then, at a picture of Fallingwater, I stopped. I stopped because I couldn't imagine how a man could have designed something like it. It was so elegant and simple and fitted so perfectly in its surroundings and seemed to change with them through the seasons. It couldn't possibly have been designed any other way. Any other form would be wrong somehow. Because I couldn't understand how Wright was able to find that perfect form, and create it, I acknowledged architecture for the first time as an art.

Mia S.

"There is one thing that a teacher told me: 'I've been watching you and you're really talented - promise me that whatever you do going forward, no matter how small it is, whatever project you make or build or design, make sure it's the best you could possibly do for that work. You're judged always by each step along the way.' I've lived by that. Knowing when you're done maybe is the hardest thing. It's a self-editing process that requires an understanding of all of the other issues. You accept a schedule when you start a project, so when you get to that date, you know you're done. But having that in mind as you work and you're working to that schedule, going past that date is going to be a difficulty for the other members of your team, people who are paying for it. We set a 'done date,' and it's tough. If you get to the done date and the building isn't what you want, you would pray to the client and say, 'Please give me another week, I'm almost there.' I've had that happen, where you know you're almost there but not there. It's healthy to have a done date, because otherwise, you'll go on forever. I never know they're going to be a success and I never presume they are. I will try to make them a success. You should aim for success, but 'I'll do my best,' that's all you can say. I think there's a certain degree of naivete - you're taking on a kind of impossible responsibility that you can't guarantee. And how dare them ask you to do that? There's all kinds of feelings that come with that moment -you want to go home, crawl under the covers and hide. You have to maintain a level of optimism that you're going to be able to pull it off, you're going to be able to create the building they expect and exceed their expectation. You have to approach it with that optimism and sense of responsibility. I've come to love that space."

Mia S.

"If you're building a building in the middle of a city, there is a responsibility to respect your neighbor, like you would anyway. So architecturally respect your neighbor. Somebody looks at Disney Hall they say, 'Hell you just ignored everything around it, what are you talking about respect? You just made a big shiny thing and it gives the finger to the Chandler.' But it doesn't, if you spend some time with it. I made the new building out of smaller parts, so it wasn't competing as a Chandler. It had its own body language. Those moves are very small in the scale, but they do count for a lot. In the tower I did in New York - the Woolworth Building is a beautiful old building, I have a lot of respect for it. So I didn't put a cap on it; I didn't want to mimic it. I wanted to say, 'You got the hat. I'm respecting your seniority.' I looked at the material that was most used worldwide that everybody hated, and that was chain link fencing. 'Let me see if I can make something out of it that they'll like.' I got guffaws and everything for years. [Horse's Head], I didn't know it was going to look like that, I sort of was trusting my intuition to create something that was an ephemeral image in my mind that I couldn't quantify or draw, but in this case I tried to design it on the computer - that would save a lot of time and effort. It was 3.4 minutes when I got up and ran out screaming and couldn't stand it anymore, because the disconnect between the dream image and the images on the computer, which are dried out and lifeless and inhumane and just geometry and drawings, they don't have the human touch... the gulf was so wide and I was trying to connect them in my head. 'Don't do this to me again.' I think the human contact - the sketch, the hand-eye coordination - the machine is on its own will eliminate the humanity, left to its own devices. If you circumvent all that stuff and just go computer to construction, you eliminate the human touch, and it's subtle. You see a lot of it, we're going more and more that way. Buildings are becoming even more faceless and less inviting. The nice thing is, they put trees all over them, that helps. And people still laugh and cry and act up so - you can't eliminate that yet."

Helen

I really feel deep sympathy with Frank's share. My slogan is always "try my best", although sometimes my tasks could be small. All his sharing of discipline, effort, fulfillment, responsibility or feeling after promising something that he can not be sure of, as he was expressing the emotions and thinking of myself. I graduated in architecture after 5 years of university, however currently I am working in the position of a sales manager and have taken an MBA. I still always love architecture and feel touched by the inspirational and emotional architectural works. I believe that good architectural works as it sees people as central and in harmony with human daily life, making people feel comfortable and happy. I adore Frank, his share is very valuable to me.

Leila R.

It's weird that I still remember this but there is a futurist tower I think somewhere in texas that looks like the core of a seashell wrapped in a white fishnet. It is a striking building and looks so out of place, and is so far from all the other tall structures that it made me fantasize about a comic book villan living in it. It is very lovely though on top of the partial spiral the highest side bends up like the prow of a boat. I have only seen it from afar but it still sticks with me.