Canadian born American architect Frank Gehry has a mind that is clearly geared for the fantastic and other-worldly. The nearly 90-year old designer has been envisioning and creating buildings that seem to defy the laws of physics and use color schemes that make you think you’re looking at a Bladerunner sequel or something.
In a world so full of crap, so packed to the gills with sad stories that depress us, it’s nice that someone like Gehry has been creating these wonders of modern ingenuity and design. Even though his career in design started over half a century ago, Gehry’s work back then, and now, still somehow manages to seem “ahead of the times” or futuristic.
Gehry’s work is so iconic, and he’s so famous in his field, that in 2005 he was even recruited by the writers of The Simpsons to appear as himself. In the episode, Gehry is hired by the people of Springfield to design a new concert hall. For comedic purposes, Gehry in cartoon form simply crumples some paper and calls it his design, playing on his reputation for buildings that look like they have no business standing upright.
Here are a few of our favorite of Mr. Gehry’s designs from around the world.
Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture (MoPop)
It makes sense that a museum that houses things like Mork’s spacesuit and the Muppets would like it’s made out of alien materials, all shiny and crumpled looking. The MoPop, though, is made of regular ol’ sheet metal. Gehry did say, though, that he used guitar parts to make a form for the building, which would make sense given that it has so much rock and roll history in it.
Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, France
I may not always be too confident in my pronunciation of “Louis Vuitton,” but I am sure that this glass and concrete winged building is a true marvel. There are over 3,600 individual glass panels and 19,000 ones made of concrete holding Fondation up.
The Marqués De Riscal Hotel in Elciego, Spain
It looks like something out of a sci-fi circus, but this Gehry design is a hotel in Spain’s wine country. The design shows off Gehry’s love of shiny, colorful surfaces and bent, crumpled, folded, or otherwise not-straight forms.
Germany’s Vitra Design Museum
Given that so many of the other entries on this list are so colorful and shiny, perhaps this design German museum of design can seem simplistic in comparison. To us though, it was beautiful in its simple color scheme, and the curvatures of the building’s outer walls are quite spectacular. This was Gehry’s first European design, and it was also the first time he used curving forms in his work.
The Fish in Barcelona
It’s pretty obvious why Gehry named this building what he did. After all, it really does look like a giant fish. It was built in 1992 ahead of that year’s summer Olympic games in Barcelona. The structure is made of metal fragments so that sunlight reflects and refracts, making it look lifelike and shimmering.
Prague’s Fred And Ginger
It takes a certain creative outlook on life to even imagine that buildings could dance, let alone with each other, and that’s to say nothing of actually designing and constructing them! Gehry says this building in the Czech Republic was inspired by his love of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, two of the most iconic hoofers of the 20th century. It’s hard not to love that glass structure cozying up to the building next to it.
Disney’s Symphony Hall in Los Angeles
What this gorgeous performance venue lacks in color, it more than makes up for in shiny brilliance. Not to mention it still features all the bends and curves Gehry is famous for. Mr. Gehry said his inspiration for this building came from his nautically inspired passions. The building is meant to evoke images of the wind blowing, and for a price tag of $274 million, that is one wallet busting gusting!
The Biomuseo in Panama City
I wanted really badly for this to be a Lego factory. Or, maybe even a building made out of giant Lego. That’s what the color scheme made me think of right away.Those colors, brighter than Gehry usually works with, are an homage to the culture of Panama. The building itself is an ecology museum.
Binoculars in Venice Beach, California
Interestingly, the binoculars next to the building weren’t designed by Gehry. They’re just an art piece next to the building, meant to enhance its aesthetic.
The Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain
This one might be Gehry’s most famous or popular entry. It’s massive and features all the twists and curves you expect from his work. The building itself is considered every bit as much a work of art like those that it keeps within its warped walls.
You can see even more in Bored Panda’s write up of Gehry’s work.
Writer/comedian James Schlarmann is the founder of The Political Garbage Chute and his work has been featured on The Huffington Post. You can follow James on Facebook and Instagram, but not Twitter because he has a potty mouth.