Design, Photography, & Fashion

Residential Projects

Frank Gehry

Lesson time 6:37 min

Working with an architect is an enormous investment. Learn how you can honor your client's trust, and play an indispensable part in bringing their design goals to life.

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Frank Gehry
Teaches Design and Architecture
In 17 lessons, Frank teaches his unconventional philosophy on architecture, design, and art.
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I'm careful in who I sign up with. Maybe that's not normal in our field, but I try to understand the people, and what they're involved with, what their intentions are. When I sign up to do the work, if I don't feel comfortable, I pass. I try to figure out who the person is, what their intents are, what their experience is, what they've done, what they're interested in because once you get into it you're spending a lot of time with the people. The way I work, it's very personal. In the first few months of working with a client on a building you get to know them, you get to understand their-- what it is they're looking for. Why they want to do this, and why they're taking their hard earned savings to spend it on it. I mean, you have to respect all of that. You can't ignore that. That's a big deal. Doing houses is very difficult because it's usually a couple. Quite often they have differences of opinion, and quite often the process of working on their house brings out the worst in them. And quite often they split, and you get caught in the middle of it. I've had it happen a couple times. Sometimes it gets very personal, and funny. We try to keep it light. One should probably spend some time visiting their house where they live, and see what they collect, what they hold dear to themselves, and try and get a sense of who the people are, what's important to them. And then the functional issues are pro forma. You've got to know what their budget is, and what their program is. Do they want it all in very close quarters, or do they want it a little bit spread out? What's the land like? Can they spread out? Can they-- If it's tight, should they be on two floors? Discuss the neighborhood you're in with the client. Say, point out to them the kind of a aesthetic surround that they're in. Talk about the landscape. What kind of feeling in the garden, or a relationship to the outside. Do they want it to be more private, or more open? If you think about them, they're really kind of obvious that you want to know all that before you start designing. I make models of the site, models of that surrounds, blocking models of the program, and set it on the site. And start to explore relationships with the clients with the blocks, so that you know where the bedroom relates to the living room. You sort of play with blocks for a while as a way of talking about the program. The sketch models, the blocks are-- we do them quickly. So you can do-- you can run through 20 of those in a couple of weeks. The blocks are made to represent the scale of the rooms. You make these blocks and sort of guess where you're going with it. In that way, you can see how much of the site is covered within the boundaries you're allowed to build, and you can decide on putting a second story so you get more garden. The most difficult part is the person th...


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.

He is realy my favorite world architect. After my godfather of course:)

Interesting view to see our professional future ... a great professor ... a great man

I've loved to hear Frank's story! He really inspired me on the importance of creating something beautiful and that serves humanity. Thank you for putting together this course

I would love to have more interaction with Frank. I love listening his talk and the way he share his story, very honest and approachable. It would be fantastic if he could share one or two of his projects in depth, with more drawings (from conceptual to technique) and models. Anyway, thank you for the arrangement! I enjoy to listen his talk and attitude a lot.


Comments

David M.

I’m never going to argue or question him, but in my world, I don’t there is any advantage of letting a client think they designed it themselves. That’s usually death.

Suchada

Be parental is what I take out of it, required a lot of work and dedication.

Mia S.

"I make models of the site, the surrounds, blocking models of the program and set it on the site; start to explore relationships with the clients with the blocks, as a way of talking about the program. The sketch models, blocks, we do them quickly - you can run through 20 of those in a couple of weeks. Blocks are made to represent the scale of the rooms. You make these and sort of guess where you're going with it - in that way, you can see how much of the site is covered within the boundaries you're allowed to build, and you can decide on putting a second story so you get more garden. The most difficult part is the person that gets into the personal stuff - how they really want to live, which way they want to face their bed - everybody has a superstition, they don't tell you about it until it's too late sometimes. All that stuff's got to come out - and it does anyway, but it's better if it all comes out in the beginning. That's what makes it exciting, and you talk about materials that they like, materials that they don't like, colors that they like and don't like. I use a lot of wood; I have some clients that hate wood, you don't use wood. I've noticed some of my colleagues just come in and show them the model and say, 'This is it.' Financially and emotionally, from a sanity point of view - that's the right thing to do. The way I do it is precarious, but it does lead to a project where the clients feel that they designed their house themselves, when I finished with them. Like everything, be very thorough so you know what the facts are and what the people are looking for. You're designing for somebody, so remember you are. Be parental in the equation. Don't be the, 'OK Sweetie, thanks for your nice things, we'll talk to the contractor' - don't get into that role, stay on top of it. If you take charge and convince them you know how to make this thing work within their budget, you're controlling it, watching it, and you talk about it with them, give them encouragement about it, comfort that you're on top of all those things, you'll get your best work done, build the best work that you possibly can. The profession has gone the other way, so this will be a breath of fresh air for you young people coming out to take this approach."

Mia S.

"I'm careful in who I sign up with. Maybe that's not normal in our field, but I try to understand the people and what they're involved with, what their intentions are. When I sign up to do the work, if I don't feel comfortable, I pass. I try to figure out who the person is, what their experience is, what they've done, what they're interested in - because once you get into it, you're spending a lot of time with the people. The way I work, it's very personal. In the first few months of working with a client on a building, you get to know them, get to understand what it is they're looking for; why they want to do this, why they're taking their hard-earned savings to spend it on it. You have to respect all of that, you can't ignore that - that's a big deal. Doing houses is very difficult, because it's usually a couple. Quite often they have differences of opinion, and quite often the process of working on their house brings out the worst in them, and quite often they split and you get caught in the middle of it - I've had it happen a couple times. Sometimes it gets very personal - and funny. We try to keep it light. One should probably spend some time visiting their house where they live, see what they collect, what they hold dear to themselves, and try and get a sense of who the people are, what's important to them. The functional issues are pro forma - got to know what their budget is and what their program is. Do they want it all in very close quarters, or do they want it a little bit spread out? What's the land like, can they spread out? If it's tight, should they be on two floors? Discuss the neighborhood you're in with the client. Point out to them the kind of aesthetic surround that they're in, talk about the landscape, what kind of feeling in the garden or relationship to the outside. Do they want it to be more private, open? "If you think about them, they're really kind of obvious that you want to know all that before you start designing."

Larissa S.

“In the first few months of working with a client on a building, you get to know them, you get to understand what it is they’re looking for. Why they want to do this and why they’re taking their hard-earned savings to spend on it. I mean you have to respect all of that... That’s a big deal.” "Know that your clients’ main concerns will be about money, schedule, and technical things like leaking and longevity of materials, but be sure to discuss with them the aesthetics of the neighborhood and landscape in which they live. Obtain information about closets, bathrooms, openness versus privacy, colors and materials they dislike, and even things as seemingly insignificant as which way they like their bed to face. It’s better to know their preferences, however trivial, before you begin designing. Remember that this is a very personal process, so keep it light and fun for your clients, but also be parental: take charge and convince them that you can complete their project within their budget. Encourage them, talk with them, and convey to them that you’re on top of every element." This words I will take with my professional life for ever. This word were extremely important for me.

Michela G.

I could not agree more with Gehry, the relationship between architect and client is fundamental, understanding how he lives and how he relates to the living space, his preferences on materials, fabrics and colors. The empathy that is created is very important to realize a complete project

Kyle R.

The client related things is something I am looking forward to when I become an architect. Getting to know someone and talk with them and come up with a design together is really powerful!

Salomé O.

The other interesting class for me, is very important when we design to see the environment, and other basic point that Frank said was the keep clients involved.

Isabela T.

Be parental is the best advice you could possibly take when starting to work with residential projects!

Darya Z.

Getting to know a client is very important. Talk to them, look at the way they use the space they live in, find out their preferences, observe their habits. All of these can help you to understand what is their dream home and what if these dreams you, as an architect, may help them come true.