Los Angeles: Gehry House (USA)

Gehry House

22nd Street, Santa Monica, Los Angeles

Frank O. Gehry (1978-79)

Gehry House, Santa Monica, Los Angeles 09_Stephen Varady Photo ©

The Gehry House had an incredible impact upon the architectural world when published in 1979. One of the first places I saw it published was in International Architect Issue #2 with Gehry’s loose hand-drawn sketch and simple plan construction drawings totally demystifying the crazy complexities and sculptural poetry revealed by the photos. When I first visited in 1990 it had an even greater impact upon me in real life – the wonderful sculptural juxtapositions wrapped in very basic building materials was incredibly inspiring.

In 1986, ‘The Architecture of Frank Gehry’ was published to coincide with an exhibition at the Walker Art Center. In it Gehry explains:

‘I remember the early process of designing the house: I looked at the old house that my wife found for us to live in, and I thought it was kind of a dinky little cutesy-pie house. We had to do something to it. I couldn’t live in it. That was Berta’s intention.

Armed with very little money I decided to build a new house around the old house and try to maintain a tension between the two by having one define the other, and to have the feeling that the old house was intact within the new house, from the outside and from the inside. Those were the basic goals. As the project developed in model form I continued the exploration of raw framing. I also explored the natural light and the idea of reflections. The question of how to differentiate the spaces, the layering of space from the exterior to the darker interior was an intriguing one. I became fascinated with the windows and made many models of them, dealing with perspective and movement.’


Further Information:

Place: Gehry House

Architect: Frank O. Gehry (Gehry Partners)

Photographer: Stephen Varady (scans from slides)

Review: International Architect #2 and Architect Magazine (17 May 2012) and NY Times (16 August 1988)

Map: Gehry House Map










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