The light-frame construction as a design resource in the work of Frank O. Gehry (1978-1997)
Keywords:framework, project, houses, Fish, Guggenheim
This article analyses the role of light-frame construction as a design resource in Frank Gehry’s work between 1978 and 1997. It carries out a historical-critical analysis of his work over this period, identifying three different stages. The first stage (1978-1987) includes residential projects in which Gehry experimented with a variety of simple combinations of forms based on lightweight framing. The second stage (1983-1992) includes the Fish projects, characterised by a search for complex forms through adaptations of this construction technique. The third and final stage (1991-9997) includes the Guggenheim Museum, a project which he based on the complex assemblage of contorted light-frame units. The use of lightweight framing as a design resource in Gehry’s work includes two main dimensions: on the one hand, the creation of one-room-house blocks involved annexation and stacking. On the other, the constant subversion of the conventions of light-frame construction generated spatial, formal and perceptive complexity. Both avenues of exploration provided a means for Gehry to evolve his architecture in the period addressed in this paper. This research demostrates that lightweight framing is at the core of many of Gehry’s projects.
Asenjo Díaz, Ángel. “Aproximación a la arquitectura de Frank Gehry.” Anuario Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Telmo, no. 15 (2015): 98-116.
Azagra, Dancho, and Alejandro Bernabeu. “La estructura de las formas libres.” Informes de la Construcción 64, no. 526 (2012): 133-42. https://doi.org/10.3989/ic.11.015
Begiristain, Iñaki. “La invención del lugar: estrategias proyectuales de tres proyectos de Frank Gehry in Los Angeles.”Cuadernos de Proyectos Arquitectónicos, no. 2 (2011): 46-51.
Caicoya, César. “Algunos aspectos del proceso de construcción del museo Guggenheim Bilbao. Bilbao/Spain.” Construction Reports 49, no. 451 (1997): 5-11. https://doi.org/10.3989/ic.1997.v49.i451.931
Cavanagh, Ted. “Balloon houses: The original aspects of conventional wood-frame construction re-examined.” Journal of Architectural Education 51, no. 1 (1997): 5-15. https://doi.org/10.1080/10464883.1997.10734741
Cenicacelaya, Javier. “La legibilidad de la estructura en los espacios arquitectónicos.” Fabrikart, no. 2 (2002).
Charleson, Andrew. La estructura como arquitectura: formas, detalles y simbolismo. Madrid: Reverte, 2006.
Gehry, Frank O. “Suburban Changes: Architect’s House, Santa Monica 1978.” International Architect 1, no. 2 (1979): 33-46.
Gehry, Frank O. “Beyond Function.” Design Quarterly, no. 138 (1987): 2-11. https://doi.org/10.2307/4091193
Gehry, Frank O., Peter Arnell, and Ted Bickford. Frank Gehry, buildings and projects. New York: Rizzoli, 1985.
Gehry, Frank O., and Mildred Friedman. Gehry talks: architecture+ process. London: Thames & Hudson, 1999.
Groat, Linda N., and David Wang. Architectural research methods. London: John Wiley & Sons, 2013.
Ferrovial Group. “El Museo Guggenheim Bilbao.” Informes de la Construcción 49, no. 451 (1997): 13-17. https://doi.org/10.3989/ic.1997.v49.i451.932
Hurol, Yonca. The tectonics of structural systems: an architectural approach. London: Routledge, 2015. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315720302
Labarta-Aizpún, Carlos. “Revisiting Schindler, understanding Gehry, Los Angeles 1921-1987.” RA Revista de Arquitectura 14 (2012): 71-80. https://doi.org/10.15581/014.14.2015
Lindsay, Bruce. Digital Gehry: Material Resistance Digital Construction. Basel-Boston: Birkhauser, 2001.
Moneo, Rafael. “On the concept of arbitrariness in architecture.” Speech promulgated on the occasion of his incorporation into the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid, 2005.
Nairn, Janet. “Frank Gehry: The Search for a ‘No Rules’ Architecture.” Architectural Record, no. 159 (June 1976): 95.
O’Brien, Michael J. “Hybrids on the way to the Western Platform Frame: Two Structures in Western Virginia.” Preservation Education & Research 3, (2010): 37-52.
Rodriguez Fernández, Ángela. “The Gehry House. a metaphorical use of material as a speculative method of the project.” Zarch: Journal of interdisciplinary studies in Architecture and Urbanism 4 (2014): 36-47.
Rose, Julian. “Tectonic Arts: Frank Gehry talks with Julian Rose.” Artforum, 2018. https://www.artforum.com/print/201805/frank-gehry-talks-with-julian-rose-75052. Accessed 27 January 2022.
Salvadori, Mario, and Robert Heller. Structures for Architects. Buenos Aires: CP67, 2021.
Sandaker, Bjørn N., Arne P. Eggen, and Mark R. Cruvellier. The structural basis of architecture. London: Routledge, 2019. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315624501
Sorkin, Michael. “Frozen Light.” In Gehry talks: architecture+process. London: Thames & Hudson, 1999.
Sprague, Paul E. “Chicago balloon frame.” In The technology of historic American buildings: studies of the materials, craft processes, and the mechanization of building construction, edited by H. Ward Jandl, 35-61. Washington, D.C.: Published by the Foundation for Preservation Technology, for the Association for Preservation Technology, 1983.
Sprague, Paul E. “The origin of balloon framing.” The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 40, no. 4 (1981), 311-19. https://doi.org/10.2307/989648
Szacka, Léa-Catherine. “Historicism versus communication: The basic debate of the 1980 Biennale.” Architectural Design 81, no. 5 (2011): 98-105. https://doi.org/10.1002/ad.1299
Torroja, Eduardo. Razón y ser de los tipos estructurales. Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 2010.
Valentin, Eric. Claes Oldenburg et Coosje Van Bruggen: la sculpture comme subversion de l’architecture (1981-1997). Dijon: Les Presses du réel, 2012.
Willis, Daniel. “The Contradictions Underlying the Profession of Architecture.” In The emerald city and other essays on the architectural imagination, edited by Daniel Willis. New Jersey: Princeton Architectural Press, 1999.
Copyright (c) 2023 VLC arquitectura. Research Journal
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
This journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License