Global ‘starchitect’ Frank Gehry came out fighting when Spanish journalists suggested criticism of his work as Gehry came to accept a prestigious prize.
So, it turns out it’s best not to ask an 85-year-old jet-lagged architect if his buildings are “just about spectacle” or whether emblematic buildings like his have had their day. At a press conference in Oviedo, Spain, to celebrate Frank Gehry winning the prestigious Prince of Asturias prize, to be presented by the new Spanish King Felipe today, the Canadian architect raised a middle finger in response to the first question and replied to the second with: “Let me tell you one thing. In this world we are living in, 98% of everything that is built and designed today is pure shit. There’s no sense of design, no respect for humanity or for anything else. They are damn buildings and that’s it.”
He went on to say: “Once in a while, however, a group of people do something special. Very few, but God, leave us alone. We are dedicated to our work. I don’t ask for work … I work with clients who respect the art of architecture. Therefore, please don’t ask questions as stupid as that one.”
Gehry is well known in northern Spain for the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and has been described as the most important architect of his age, with wild designs that often become tourist attractions in their own right. Although he specialises in public buildings, residential developments include the latest released phase of the new Battersea Power Station development in London. He went on to say at the press conference, “Bilbao shows that good architecture can make a difference”, and later apologised for his rudeness, blaming jet lag.
by Christopher Nye, Editor, OPP Magazine