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One of the Giants of American Architecture: Frank Gehry

Posted on 01-Feb-2019

Frank Gehry celebrates his 90th birthday this month, and in honour of the person who designed some of North America’s – and the world’s – most iconic buildings, we run through five of his unmissable architectural wonders he created.

1. Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle


The incredible folds and swirls of Gehry’s design represent the thrill and swell and thunder of America’s incredible rock music scene. His inspiration was a series of old guitars, and you’ll see the theme echoed (literally) in the sound sculpture “If VI was IX” by artist Timpin. The building’s design embodies itself purpose: to house the best and most dynamic popular culture exhibits in Seattle.

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Image credit: By Cacophony - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

2. Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles


The city of angels is home to a concert hall that stands out: futuristic sweeping silver curves define the metallic building, its distinctive reflective surface mesmerising in the southern Californian sunshine. It’s so famous it was even name-checked in The Simpsons.

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3. Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto


Built just streets away from where Gehry grew up, the AGO has a personal and sentimental connection for the decorated, award-winning architect. For him, the purpose of the building was to “connect the city and its people to great art and art experiences.”

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4. 8 Spruce Street, New York


The unmistakable silhouette of 8 Spruce Street is a stylish addition to the New York skyline. The fluid curves of the obelisk make a pleasant diversion from the blunt corners and uncharismatic blocks of many of New York’s skyscrapers – by contrast, 8 Spruce Street is proof that imagination goes a long, long way.

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5. Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Chicago


It could be the most aesthetically pleasing bandshell in the USA. The Jay Pritzker Pavilion is known for its overarching lattice of interlocking steel pipes, which create the kind of acoustics even an indoor venue would envy. The venue is equally accommodating to different musical styles, and has hosted performances by mainstream rock giants, the annual Gospel Choir Festival, and free concerts by classical orchestras alike. The structure itself is legally designated as a work of art rather than a building – partly to work around legislation to protect the huge Grant Park in which it sits.

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Topics: Cities, General