Frank Gehry's project down under: out on a limb or out of his tree?

January 24, 2011 | Alyson

Comments (5)

Native Torontonian Frank Gehry's newest project at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia has been dubbed "the tree house" because, in Gehry's words, it will have "a trunk and core of activity and... branches for people to connect and do their private work."   Uhm...okay. 

When I first saw the architectural model  I thought I was looking at a crumpled up lunch bag.  Actually, that's not true. My very first thought was that I needed my eyes examined.

Doesn't it look as if it's melting? Or being demolished?



It's strange and remarkable to be able to do that with bricks and mortar. But, just because it can be done, should it?

I don't want to come off sounding like Prince Charles, but I find it difficult to get behind this design. There's a lot of awe-inspiring modern architecture out there.  I liked Daniel Libeskind's ROM crystal, or I would have liked it, if it were truly crystalline. I've just never seen a crystal made from aluminum siding. 


                   a crystal                                                        not really a crystal at all

Crystal     Rom

And the crazy giant coffee table that is Will Alsop's  OCAD building makes me happy to live in Toronto.


Goethe said architecture is frozen music.  All I can say is, I bet Frank Gehry listens to experimental jazz.

I love the changes he made to The Art Gallery of Ontario - those smooth and twisty staircases, that glorious blue wall against Grange Park and all the light he brought into the space.

Ago stairs    Ago back view      

                           Ago inside


You can check it out for yourself. All branches of the Toronto Public Library have free Museum and Art Passes to several galleries and museums in the city, including the AGO.

Frank Lloyd Wright said, "A doctor can bury his mistakes, but an architect can only advise his clients to plant vines."  Will there be a need for a lot of Virginia creeper in the land of Oz?

For a look at some of Gehry's best works, here is some suggested reading:

Gehry book        Gehry book 2        Gehry book 3


Gehry book 4       Gehry book 6       Gehry book 5


And just because I was a bit mean about the ROM, here are some works on Libeskind:


Libeskind book 1       Libeskind book 2       Libeskind book 3


Although Alsop says he's given up architecture for painting, here are a couple of books on his creations:


                            Alsop book 1            Alsop book 2