From Publishers Weekly
With such signature buildings as the Guggenheim Bilbao and the Disney Center in Los Angeles, Frank Gehry has been called the most famous architect in the world. These conversations, edited from interviews California-based writer Isenberg (Making It Big
) began with Gehry in the 1980s, cover topics from his first buildings—made as a boy from chips of firewood on his grandmother's floor—to current large-scale projects like a $3 billion redesign for Grand Avenue in downtown L.A. There is talk about the architectural politics of Los Angeles and the practical aspects of running a large architectural office. And while Gehry never name-drops, readers do get a sense of the celebrity and high-finance crowds in which he circulates. Gehry says he has always been more influenced by artists than by other architects, and those influences range from such friends as Robert Rauschenberg to Vermeer and Hieronymus Bosch. Whether designing jewelry or museums, he sketches constantly and his assistants build dozens of models before reaching a final design. Illustrations of these preliminary steps and of realized buildings add a visual component to the wide-ranging and informative conversations. 165 color and 41 b&w illus. (Apr.)
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*Starred Review* Arguably today’s best-known architect and certainly the most influential, Frank Gehry continues to challenge everyday thoughts about what a building can become. His iconic art museum in Bilbao, Spain, has made every community yearn for a structure that can so instantly become a landmark. In this oral history, Isenberg converses with Gehry about his life and his groundbreaking aesthetic. Gehry describes his origins, his Toronto upbringing, his decision to change his surname from Goldberg, his stint in the army, his education at Harvard under the GI bill, and his encounters with other architects and artists who opened his eyes to new and wondrous possibilities. He credits Los Angeles’ surging growth in the 1950s and 1960s for many of his innovations. Illustrations bloom throughout the text. Gehry’s drawings look like particularly inspired doodles. Photographs of Gehry in his offices and of his planned and completed structures help the reader visualize the physical ideas latent in the architect’s articulate and disarmingly unpretentious discussions. --Mark Knoblauch