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Serpentine Gehry pavillion opens tomorrow

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Each year the Serpentine Gallery commissions a pavilion for summer
events. This year's is designed by none other than Frank Gehry,
arguably the premier architect working in the world today.

The pavilion was completed this week and will be open to the public
tomorrow, according the guy standing out front.

I will try and get some more photos when the weather is less rubbish!

P.S. Really nice demo of geotagging. iPhone has GPS, embeds info in picture, Moblog gets it out again, puts picture on map without any help from me. Looking at the map it's accurate to about 2 metres. That may be down to GPS, or it may be down to Google's map data, or both.
18th Jul 2008, 10:06   | tags:,,

mat says:

Premier architect working today?

Contentious. Zaha Hadid trumps Gehry, imo. Don't get me wrong, I love Gehry's work, I just think it's a bit, well, late-20th century.

Still, this is pretty. All his stuff is.

18th Jul 2008, 10:52

afternoon says:

I guess I did say "arguably" so I should expect some argument :-).

It's all in the eye of the beholder really.

18th Jul 2008, 11:27

hildegard says:

"Frank Gehry, arguably the premier architect working in the world today."

Go on then, advance the argument for the Emperor's New Architect because that looks like his usual tawdry, tedious shopping mall. Being able to run a CAD prgramme isn't the same as being an architect.

Still at least the Serpetine Pavillion is suited to his approach inasmuch as it isn't meant to stay up.

18th Jul 2008, 13:42

mat says:

Apparently, Gehry doesn't use computers. He works by hand, using - so I hear - a variation on the old inverse-catenary design-model-thingy that that nice Mr Huygens and/or Mr Hooke came up with.

Can't remember where I heard/read that, otherwise I'd do you a linky.

18th Jul 2008, 14:03

mat says:

Also, I have never seen a shopping mall that looks anything like that. I wish to God more of them did. I'd much rather Gehry's increasingly-predictable style than generic glass+steel+brick crap that shows up everywhere else.

18th Jul 2008, 14:05

afternoon says:

The Guggenheim Bilbao is hands down the architectural achievement of the last 20 years. It has sparked more interest in and discussion of our designs for and use of space in the 21st century than any other building.

For the record, Gehry doesn't use CAD. He works more like an artist, arranging buildings with cut up bits of card. See the film Sketches of Frank Gehry for more info on his process.

I recommend also you actually go and look at some shopping centres. E.g. Europe's largest which is currently under construction in Shepherd's Bush. They look about as much like Gehry's work as I look like Brad Pitt.

Gehry's aesthetics don't match mine - I'm a hard modernist - but his achievement in exciting and inspiring people through buildings is something I have a lot of respect for.

18th Jul 2008, 14:08

hildegard says:

Sparking discussion & debate doesn't mean something's good - doesn't even mean it's interesting. Novelty is all it takes. There's also the fact that the debate often turns on how widely disliked his work & that of Leibeskind Calatrava, Foster, etc, actually is. RIBA are forever wringing their hands over how they keep giving awards to some of the most hated buildings in the UK - Scottish Parliament, anyone? We have to get past this Mrs Merton notion that heated debate qua heated debate is a good in iteself.

"Yes, I can't turn on a computer, I don't know how to,” Gehry announced. “Forgive me!" He then went on to explain how his practice entered the world of CAD. "I was trying to make a double curved line on a building and I didn't know how to transmit that to the contractor. Jim Glymph had just joined mthe company and I asked him if there was some way to convey complex shapes in buildings. That instigated a search which has ended up with us partnering with Dassault Systemes.

"The Guggenheim museum in Bilbao and the Walt Disney Concert Hall (in Los Angeles) could not exist today if we hadn't met Dassault, because there was no way to explore these kinds of shapes and make them economically feasible. You can always make shapes and get someone to build them, but how do you do it within the constraints of real budgets and real projects? That was something that was of in interest to us."

Just because Gehry's not that personally competent with computers, doesn't mean his work & practice don't rely upon them absolutely.

As to inspiring or exciting, everything about his work depresses me.

18th Jul 2008, 14:23

mat says:

For me, very little is as depressing as, let's say, this. Modern corporate design-by-committee/accountant architecture makes me want to punch myself in the face. It's such a waste - like pop music that all sounds the same, or homogenised pre-packaged, tasteless foodstuffs that merely deliver protein and energy.

Like him or loathe him, Gehry is at least an actual architect - you can spot his style, he has a style to spot! He might be predictable, and he might well be repetitive, there's even a reasonable argument to say he hasn't had an original idea for 20 years - but he's rarely dull (at least not on the scale that generic red brick and steel is). Yes - Guggenheim, EMP, Disney Concert Hall, Wiesman Museum, Stata Center - they do pretty much all look the same as each other. At least they don't look anything like the buildings surrounding them as well..

Just as a matter of interest, who's architectural work do you like, h?

18th Jul 2008, 14:49

Helen says:

I quite like this. Looks like a mash-up of a game of Jenga-with-Pick-Up-Sticks.

18th Jul 2008, 14:54

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