You would be forgiven for thinking that Frank O. Gehry’s complex architecture is a result of mere computer 3-D modeling, but his design process is actually far more involved. When Gehry has an idea, he knows how to develop it - by hand. Recently displayed at 21_21 Design Site in Tokyo, a surprising exhibition dedicated to the work of the great Canadian-born architect reveals the steps that go into each new project. “I have an idea” is an inspiring story that uncovers the secrets of Gehry’s creativity and illustrates how his intricate imagination manifests step-by-step into real physical forms.
Gehry, Pritzker Prize laureate, is the 86-year-old architect who has been constructing prize winning, eye-catching and formally provocative buildings for dozens of years. The “I have an idea” exhibition, curated by Tsuyosohi Tane, lifts the curtains on the meticulous design studies constantly taking place behind the scenes at Gehry’s office. It showcases hundreds of models that have already became (or are about to become) worldwide, famous landmarks. The unique exhibition reveals the evolution of Gehry’s revolutionary ideas.
Each design story on display starts with the first visionary concept that then evolves into detailed models of almost real (though out of scale) buildings. At first, they are simple wooden blocks and color-coded volumes that help to determine the building’s functional program and its overall form. Next, cardboard and thin paper that can be made into different shapes are used to study each building’s shape. And then, many more different materials and “construction techniques” including vinyl, canvas and 3D-printed components, go into action. Hundreds of models for each project are made, evaluated, destroyed, and re-made. Through this process, forms are tested and completely new ideas are born from there, bringing the project closer to the desired goal.
Flip through our gallery to see some of the most inspiring Gehry models on show, from rough designs made with flimsy materials to the sophisticated 3D-printed shapes of verification models.
Images via Maria Novozhilova for Inhabitat