We spent a long weekend in Los Angeles with an architect/builder married couple from Cloudcroft to show them around town and gawk at architecture (including some Schindlers [of course!]). Over the next several weeks, I'll be posting about various stops on the trip.
The Cloudcroft Couple likes Frank Gehry, so stopping at Gehry's house was a must. Borged in 1978 in Santa Monica, Gehry controversially deconstructed an existing Dutch Colonial ("A dumb little house with charm") with a "balance of fragment and whole, raw and defined, new and old." I say "borged" because he glommed expressionist additions of common materials such as corrugated siding and chain link fence ("shadow mesh") around the existing house. The neighbors were furious, threatening to sue and comparing the home to a Tijuana sausage factory.
The house is, indeed, a bit out of place in the neighborhood, although the landscaping has occluded much of the front of the house, softening its impact on the neighbors. Gehry appears to have built right up to the setback limits and surely pushed the boundaries of the building code, using the original asphalt driveway on the side of the house as the floor for the kitchen and dining room. Nonetheless, the house was widely considered a masterpiece. Ironically, when Gehry further modified the house in 1991 to accommodate his growing family, architectural critics criticized his modifications.
Gehry still owns the house even though he is building (has built?) a new home overlooking Rustic Canyon. At some point, it will surely be a house museum.
“… I loved the idea of leaving the house intact… I came up with the idea of building a new home about. We were told there were ghosts in the house… I decided they were ghosts of cubism. Windows… I wanted to make them look like they’re dragging. At night, since the glass is tilted reflect light… So when you are sitting at this table all these cars are passing by, you see the moon in the wrong place… the moon is there but it reflects here… and you think it’s there and do not know where the hell are you… ” Frank Gehry
more from Architect Magazine,