Soon enough Gehry will receive the chance to silence the skeptics. The Philadelphia Museum of Art has commissioned Frankie O to design an underground gallery space, a project that will be virtually invisible from the exterior. Far too often uninformed critics cry foul to the likeness of Gehry’s personal aesthetic taste: “this building looks just like that museum he designed in Spain.” I use the term “uninformed” because I give these critics the benefit of the doubt that they know little about the architectural design process. The reason Gehry’s buildings are similar is because he has crafted his style and held true to what he believes is architecture. The easiest way for me to relate this is by way of music. When you hear a Beatles or a Rolling Stones tune you are aware immediately who the artist is, in the same respect, when you see a Gehry building the same is generally true. Is that such a bad thing? To explain the role of an architect in simple terms, I will share the same analogy that a professor once used to describe it to me. “A first year student starts out tossing a ball in the air and catching it. A third year student adds two balls to the equation and learns how to develop the coordination to sustain the act of juggling. By the time one receives the title of architect, they should be able to juggle 10 balls and do it eloquently.”
First off, when an architect receives his/her title, it is not solely granting the “OK” to design buildings. The practice of the profession of architecture is defined as rendering or offering to render services which require the application of the art, science, and aesthetics of design and construction of buildings, groups of buildings, including their components and appurtenances and the spaces around them wherein the safeguarding of life, health, property, and public welfare is concerned. Providing a safe structure is the most important enduring value of architecture, a value that becomes extremely complex in the context of codes and standards. It is impossible to know all of the codes, as many of them switch from region to region. For nearly every building that Gehry designs, a different set of rules is applied to the design process.
I can see how an untrained eye could look at a Gehry building and say that they all look the same, as they are all whimsically organic in nature. A critic must realize the amount of work that goes into the designing of a building. From site analysis to construction, the process generally takes at the absolute least two years. This is why I am excited about Gehry designing an exclusively interior space. It will be nice for people to criticize how a FG design functions as opposed to its iconic nature.