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Frank Gehry’s Biography and Career Research Paper

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Updated: Jan 10th, 2020

Personal Life

Frank Gehry was born on 28 February 1929, in Toronto, Canada (Bio. True Story). His original name is Frank Owen Goldberg. His family was of mixed parentage.

His father was Polish while his mother was Jewish (Bio. True Story). He was innovative since his childhood when he started to construct imaginary homes as well as cities, using items found at his grandfather’s hardware shop. His love for an unusual building stuff was a clear sign of his future architectural career (Bio. True Story).

Gehry and his sister, Doreen, grew up in Timmins, east of Ontario (Encyclopedia of Word Biography). In 1949, Gehry moved to Los Angeles where he was engaged in different part-time jobs while studying in the South California School of Architecture (Bio. True Story).

He would eventually graduate from the college in the year 1954 with an undergraduate degree in architecture. After his graduation, he worked for Luckman Associates among various other companies (Frank Gehry Architect: Biography).

On graduating, he changed his surname from Goldberg to Gehry (Bio. True Story). He vacated to Massachusetts in 1956 together with his wife, Anita Snyder, where he took up a Post Graduate course in design (Bio. True Story). Later on, Gehry dropped out of graduate school, and immediately divorced his wife, the mother of two daughters.

After these two events, he moved to California and set up a modest office in Santa Monica (Frank Gehry Architect: Biography). Gehry would later marry Berta Isabel Aguilera in 1975, who gave birth to his two more kids (Bio. True Story).

His Career

As earlier indicated, setting up the office at Santa Monica marked the official start of his architectural career with the introduction of his cardboard furniture products, popularly known as ‘Easy Edges’ (Bio. True Story).

He made the Easy Edges items from layers of enhanced cardboard; he was engaged in this product line from 1969 up to 1973. However, he soon realized that furniture design was not his passion as he was more inclined to building and construction; that was the desire that made him remodel a home in Santa Monica where his family resided at that time (Bio. True Story).

The process of remodeling involved enclosing the cabana in place with enhanced steel and chain-link backstop; he also split the bungalow with a slanting fanlight (Bio. True Story). The architects noticed his avant-garde blueprint which was the reason for propelling his career to heights. He started designing homes constantly in Southern California in the 1980s (Bio. True Story).


Gehry was by that time achieving the status of a celebrity and went on to take his career to even greater heights marked by unique concept structures, including the Walt Disney Concert Hall located in Los Angeles, the Dancing House located in Prague and the Guggenheim Museum ziggurat in Bilbao, Spain (Bio. True Story).

These buildings have become tourist attraction sites being popular presently. Gehry went back to his initial place of dwelling, California, working as a local architect and later on unveiled his first high-rise, 8 Spruce Street in New York City (Bio. True Story).

Gehry has been using the Deconstructivist style since the remodeling of Santa Monica, which brought him a lot of success.

The style is post-structuralist creativity, which poses a challenge to normal design paradigms used in architecture (Bio. True Story). He is popular for his choice of unexpected materials, for example, corrugated metals that grant his designs an uncompleted or even crude beauty, or for his unique architectural philosophy (Bio. True Story).

Frank Gehry always displays professionalism and strictly follows the set budget regardless of complex designs, with an exception of Walt Disney Concert Hall project whose budget spilled over the initial budget, leading to extensive and expensive lawsuits (Frank Gehry Architect: Biography).

Also, his architectural style involves an inclusive method of designing buildings with care for people to maneuver through them, enabling them to work or live there with a lot of comforts (YourDictionary).

Other than his architectural designs, Gehry has been working as a lecturer at Columbia University in Yale and the University of Southern California in the recent past (Bio. True Story). He has acted as a board member at the University of Southern California, his former college. Frank Gehry has received numerous honors including the highly valued Pritzker Price in the year 1989 (YourDictionary).

Currently, Gehry’s projects include a new Guggenheim building in Abu Dhabi, the new Facebook headquarters in California and a memento to Dwight D. Eisenhower located in Washington, D.C., at the foot of Capitol Hill (Bio. True Story).

His firm, Frank O. Gehry & Associates, has developed to slightly over 140 members of staff, and now has a presence in the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Japan, Scotland, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States of America (Frank Gehry Architect: Biography).

Frank O. Gehry is a living legend who has risen from a humble background to achieve a lot of success in the architectural field.

Works Cited

Bio. True Story. . n.d. Web.

. Encyclopedia of Word Biography. n.d. Web.

. n.d. Web.

YourDictionary. . n.d. Web.

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