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Frank Gehry Quotes Continued

Playboy Magazine Interviews Architect Frank Gehry

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Lopsided buildings

The Ray and Maria Stata Center, designed by Frank Gehry, is an odd jumble of lopsided buildings. The Center houses three departments at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge.

Photo © Rick Hyman / iStockPhoto
Read more quotes by architect Frank Gehry, excerpted from 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. The complete interview appears in the January 2011 issue of Playboy magazine. (Magazine includes adult content.)

Frank Gehry on whether or not he cares about how the interiors of his buildings are decorated: "It's up to [the designers]. It's why I don't micromanage the interiors. People ask me to and I say no. I don't want to control everything like Mies and Frank Lloyd Wright did. I'll say, 'I'm going to design the container and the interior spaces. You bring your own stuff to it and make it your own.' I don't impose myself in that way."

Frank Gehry on if he has a favorite of all the buildings he's built: "That's like asking which of your kids is your favorite. Even if I had one I wouldn't say."

Frank Gehry on newer buildings by other architects that he considers favorites: "At first I didn't cotton to Mies's Lake Shore Drive towers in Chicago, but when I went there and saw how they come down on the slab of one-and-seven-eighths-inch thick travertine, I turned around. I think that was an incredible statement of modesty and power…It was so subtle, understated and powerful as hell. Rem Koolhaas certainly achieved an incredible piece of sculpture in the CCTV tower in Beijing. Also in Beijing, of course, the Bird's Nest stadium [built for the Olympics] by Herzog and de Meuron. I like a lot of young people, such as Zaha Hadid, who did the MAXXI Museum in Rome. They're finding their way, and I have great respect for them."

Frank Gehry on the perpetual race to build the world's tallest buildings: "Yes, the race continues in a way. My tallest is the Beekman in New York; it's being finished now. The client said that at 76 stories it is the tallest apartment building in New York, and I said, 'Why don't we make it two stories shorter so it's not, because if Trump hears that, he'll try to beat it, and I don't want to bother him.' Already somebody's doing a taller one. It's a hilarious thing about erections...."

Frank Gehry on "green" building, and the need for architects to be environmentally responsible: "Many people put a green button on their collar and feel good, just like a lot of people put an American flag on their lapels and feel patriotic. It's not enough....I've been concerned about these issues since the 1960s....For years good architects were dealing with environmentally responsible design—materials, energy efficiency, all that—before it became a trend. Frank Lloyd Wright always did. I just don't think it's enough to solve this monumental problem. We have to do more."

On the "Bilbao" effect—how art and architecture can completely transform the identity of a city and its people: "It's not new. The Bilbao effect is the Parthenon effect, the Chartres Cathedral effect, the Notre Dame effect. The press labeled it the Bilbao effect; I didn't name it. It's not new that architecture can profoundly affect a place, sometimes transform it. Architecture and any art can transform a person, even save someone. It can for children—for anyone. It still does for me."

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