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Frank Gehry Talks Frankly

Playboy Magazine Interviews Architect Frank Gehry


The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain by architect Frank Gehry

The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain by architect Frank Gehry

Photo © Miguel Palacios / Getty Images
"Ninety-eight percent of buildings are boxes, which tells me that a lot of people are in denial. We live and work in boxes," legendary architect Frank Gehry told Playboy magazine during an interview with Contributing Editor David Sheff.

"People don't even notice that," Gehry said. "Most of what's around us is banal. We live with it. We accept it as inevitable. People say, 'This is the world the way it is, and don't bother me.' Then when somebody does something different, real architecture, the push-back is amazing. People resist it. At first it's new and scary."

The full interview, A Candid Conversation with the World's Most Important Architect About Why People Love Good Design, Why They Fear it and How The Simpsons Got it Wrong, appears in the January 2011 issue of Playboy magazine. While the magazine is spiced with naughty photos (parents beware), the Frank Gehry interview offers valuable insights into the mind and creativity of one of the most important architects of modern times. Read excepts here:

On being labeled a starchitect, and the celebrity image that comes with Frank Gehry's success: "The thing is, I hate the celebrity architect thing. I just do my work. The press comes up with this stuff and it sticks. I hate the word starchitect. Stuff like that comes from mean-spirited, untalented journalists. It's demeaning. It's derisive, and once it's said, it sticks. I get introduced all the time, 'Here's starchitect Frank Gehry....' My reaction: 'What the f*ck are you talking about?'"

On the resistance Frank Gehry faced from local residents in Bilbao when building the Guggenheim Bilbao: "Immediately there was a vigil in the street. Steelworkers, dockworkers, other union people and many others all against me created a phalanx with candles....There was a threat in the newspaper, 'Kill the American architect.'...They didn't want it built. They hated it. They were appalled. They didn't understand it. They didn't want the change it represented. Now that it's built they run over and want their pictures taken with me. 'Señor Gehry, Señor Gehry!'....I should live there. It's a love-in, though they'd probably get tired of me. Before, however, they reacted as if I was taking their city away."

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