Design & Style, Arts & Entertainment

Take Aways From the Walt Disney Concert Hall

Frank Gehry

Lesson time 16:01 min

Frank shares the highlights, and low points, of his time designing and constructing the iconic Walt Disney Concert Hall. You'll learn the importance of being a master builder, prototyping your work, and collaborating with other experts.

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

Topics include: Prototyping • Working with Clients • Working with Contractors • Acoustics • Adding Movement • Listening to your End User • Research and Development


When I was starting on something like Disney, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, starting out, I didn't have the power to make some of the demands. And on the situation. the client group hired a project manager. The client group hired an executive architect, somebody I approved, but an executive architect who had all the political connections so that his office was considered the adult. And I was the decoration on the side. The mistake was to not draw a line in the sand. I said it publicly in the meeting, it was recorded in the meeting, I just said we're heading for a disaster. You'd better do something about it. And nobody would look at it. They read everything the way they wanted. They said the executive architect was 60% complete with his drawings. So they can go out and get sealed bids. And I said the executive architect was only 30% complete with his drawings, and you couldn't get steel bids. They went ahead did it. They got steel bids. They ordered steel. Executive architect couldn't keep up with the project. And it failed. And they lost, I think, 60 some million dollars. And it was all beyond my control. I warned it. I prewarned it. I did everything I could to prevent it. It did fail. And guess who got blamed? Me. So, for two years in Los Angeles, I would go to dinner or do something and meet-- somebody would inevitably come over to me and say, how could you have done that? That was terrible. And I got to the point where I started looking for office space on the east coast to move my office. The client hired an outside consultant to analyze what went wrong. And they hired the developer Hines, Jerry Hines, to do the forensics. And they were working on it for a week. And then this big Texan guy, who was a partner in Hines came to see me. And I thought, do I really need this, what he's going to say? I'm sure he's part of the, oh yeah, you architects don't know how to-- well, anyway, he came in, he looked at me. He said, Mr. Gehry, you've been fucked. And I looked at him, and I hugged him. He said-- he knew exactly, he did the forensics, he knew exactly what happened. And he told the client group what happened. And he told the bureaucracy what happened. My relationship to the project changed after that. On the second go round, I was told that they were going to use my design, and build it. That I should shut up and let them do it. That was on Friday afternoon. On Monday afternoon, I got a call from the person that told me I was no longer needed. And he said, I hope you're not going to be a sore winner. I said, what are you talking about? And he said, well, Diane Disney Miller, who was the daughter of Walt, who I didn't really know very well, was on the board. And she said that she was hurt the rest of her family bequests further concert hall would be given to ...

About the Instructor

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.

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Frank Gehry

In 17 lessons, Frank teaches his unconventional philosophy on architecture, design, and art.

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