What’s going on? Does our favorite canadian, LA based, architect abandones the “Bilbao design” tha attracted the critics and helped him become a legend? Is he turning 180 degrees away from his particular style? away from a style that attracted thousands of architects and students in order to study the Gehry-way? hmmmmhhhhh….. not exactly!

It was most like a dream coming true, his chance to do real architecture. (as he is saying…)

But let’s take things slow. It was in 2006, when the Philadephia Art Museum commissions Gehry for the masterplan of the new extension of the building. The brief, this time, did not call for an extravagant facade or imposing elevations arcing into the sky. In fact, the additional extension of the museum will be unfolden underground.

And now what? how would the master unfold his very own, very unique architectural style? Here is what he says:

“To be under the covers and to try to make architecture that way is a fascinating thought. All architects are intrigued by subterranean things; i don’t think i am alone in that”, and he continues, “there is a kind of modesty thing. Most of us, we don’t set out to do the bilbao effect, as it’s being called. It’s be a real challenge to do something that’s virtually hidden, that could become spectacular”


Gehry rebuts the Bilbao effect, on a try to get rid of the cult starchitecture fame and the negative connotations that come with it. True to his word, he is trying to create a space with minimal fuss and maximum effect.

Making a Classic Modern’ will introduce visitors to the various ways in which Frank Gehry and his creative team have addressed the challenges and opportunities of updating this historic facility. The building is in need of substantial renovation, reorganization, and expansion to meet current and future needs. The Master Plan encompasses the full breadth of the Museum, from the East Entrance with its iconic ‘Rocky steps’ facing Center City to the West Entrance overlooking the Schuylkill River. Although he is best known for the expressive, sculptural forms of buildings such as the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, and Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Gehry has taken an approach to this project that is dramatically different and virtually unique.”

Gehry’s design focuses on the transformation of the interior of the Museum through the renovation of beloved spaces such as the Great Stair Hall and major improvements to how visitors will enter and move through the building. The design also calls for the creation of a significant amount of new space for expanded educational activities and the display of the Museum’s extensive holdings of American, Asian, and modern and contemporary art in new galleries created both within the existing building and underneath the East Terrace.




The Philadelphia Museum of Art will soon debut Making a Classic Modern: Frank Gehry’s Master Plan for the Philadelphia Museum of Art, an exhibition showcasing the first images of Frank Gehry‘s master plan to renovate the museum. The exhibition opens July 1.


sources: Architizer and Bustler

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