Born February 28, 1929, in Toronto, Ontario, Frank Owen Gehry is considered one of the most inventive working architects alive today. His pioneering designs have a distinct architectural expression that is evocative of both mundane and high art.
Gehry received his undergraduate degree in architecture from the University of Southern California in 1954. After studies in urban planning at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design and a year in Paris working for French architect André Rémondet, Gehry returned to California, opening an office in Santa Monica in 1962.
Gehry’s practice has expanded to include exhibition design, furniture, jewelry, libraries, office buildings, restaurants, schools, and visual and performing arts venues. Gehry's use of unconventional materials and warped forms garnered a reputation for his works to be described as deconstructive architecture. The deconstructivist movement in architecture stems from discussions between French philosopher Jacques Derrida and architect Peter Eisenman. They challenged the accepted idea that structure alone is able to define and communicate the meaning or truth inherent in a designer’s intention. Deconstructive structures are not required to reflect specific universality of form; they do not reflect a belief that form follows function. While Gehry claims no formal alliance to any particular philosophy in general, his Santa Monica residence is a commonly cited as an example of deconstructive architecture: it is so dramatically different from its context and original spatial objectives.
In 1989 Gehry was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize. In 2006, Gehry was the subject a documentary by Sydney Pollack, “Sketches of Frank Gehry.” The introduction of high tech computer software has facilitated the construction and engineering of complex building systems, successfully translating Gehry’s free form sketches from model to completion. Today, Gehry & Partners has grown to over 175 employees, and the geographic terrain covered by the firm's work includes the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Japan, Scotland, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States.
West 8 is an award-winning international office for urban design and landscape architecture, founded by Adriaan Geuze in 1987. Over the last 20 years, West 8 has established itself as a leading practice with an international team of 70 architects, urban designers, landscape architects and industrial engineers. With a multi-disciplinary approach to complex design issues, West 8 has extensive experience in large-scale urban master planning and design, landscape interventions, waterfront projects, parks, squares and gardens. West 8 also develops concepts and visions for large-scale planning issues that involve global warming, urbanization and infrastructure.