Frank Gehry's private home in Santa Monica, California began with a traditional tract home with clapboard siding and a gambrel roof. Gehry gutted the interior and re-invented the house as a work of deconstructionist architecture. After stripping the interior down to the beams and rafters, Gehry wrapped the exterior with what appears to be scraps and rubbish: plywood, corrugated metal, glass, and chain link. As a result, the old house still exists inside the envelope of the new house. The Gehry House remodeling was completed in 1978.
Today, the house is not the same. In 1991, Gehry remodeled again:
"The kids needed bedrooms and stuff, and we had more money to spend. We built a pool. We fixed the roof. We fixed the skylights and the electrical system. A lot was done that unraveled that old house, and I lost it. The house now has vestigial reminders of the old strength, but it's not as good a house. It's not as good a piece of art, if you want to call it art, as it was on the first go-round."
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) called the Gehry Residence "ground-breaking" and "provocative" when it selected the Santa Monica house to receive the 2012 Twenty-five Year Award. Gehry's remodeling joins the ranks of other past winners, including Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West in 1973, Philip Johnson's Glass House in 1975, and the Vanna Venturi House in 1989.
More About the Gehry House:
- Gehry House, Inside Out, inside views with Gehry commentary
- This is Architecture? Deconstructing Frank Gehry
- The Gehry House: A Brash Landmark Grows Up by Herbert Muschamp, The New York Times, October 7, 1993
- Stories of Houses: Frank Gehry's House
Source: Conversations With Frank Gehry by Barbara Isenberg, 2009, pp. 68-69