The Getty Research Institute recently announced the acquisition of a major archive of the world-renowned architect Frank Gehry. The Frank Gehry Papers cover more than thirty years of his singular career and includes comprehensive material on some of his best-known projects. The acquisition is part purchase and part gift.
The archive encompasses the period from Gehry’s early graduate studies to the 1988 competition entry for the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the success of which marked Gehry’s entrée into a global architectural elite. (Gehry won the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize the following year, in 1989.) The archive includes drawings, partial and complete models, project documentation, correspondence, photographs and slides, and ephemera pertaining to 283 projects designed between 1954 (the Romm House project) and 1988 (the Walt Disney Concert Hall competition). The collection also includes materials produced after 1988 for projects which were initiated before that date, including construction documents and models for the Disney Concert Hall (completed in 2003), early design drawings for the Grand Avenue Project (still in development), and materials relating to later phases of projects which had begun much earlier (Loyola Law School, 1520 Cloverfield, and the Gehry Residence in Santa Monica, to mention a few). In total, these documents offer a comprehensive portrait of the emergence and rise to prominence of Gehry’s architectural practice over a 30-year period.
The Gehry Archive is massive, comprising approximately 1,000 sketches, more than 120,000 working drawings, more than 100,000 slides, hundreds of boxes of office records, personal papers, and correspondence, 168 working models, and 112 presentation models. In addition to these physical materials, the collection includes digital files which represent Frank Gehry’s pioneering work in developing software platforms crucial in the design process. These digital files pertain to designs for the Vitra Museum (1989), the Disney Concert Hall, and the Grand Avenue Project.
“I’m honored by the attention of the Getty Research Institute delving into the history of my work, my beginnings, and other things that I never thought anybody would be interested in,” said Frank Gehry. “I’m very moved that this great institution, with its resources to search for the best examples of creativity in our world, has found me an interesting party. I will be forever grateful.”
source: getty, images © Frank O. Gehry