Getty Acquires Gehry Archive

30. March 2017
Model of Winton Guest House, Wayzata, Minnesota, 1982-1987. (Frank Gehry Papers at the Getty Research Institute)
The Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles has announced the acquisition of more than thirty years of Frank Gehry's drawings, models, project documentation, correspondence, photographs, and other artifacts on 283 projects.
The Frank Gehry Papers, as they're called in the Getty's press release, cover the years 1954 to 1988, from the Canadian-born architect's early studies – he graduated from USC in 1954 with a Bachelor of Architecture and from Harvard GSD in 1957 – to the 1988 competition entry for the Walt Disney Concert Hall, which was completed in 2003 in Downtown Los Angeles. One year after Gehry won the Disney competition he was named the 12th laureate of the Pritzer Architecture Prize.

Although the archive predates such famous buildings as the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, its approximately 1,000 sketches, 120,000 working drawings, 100,000 slides, 168 working models, 112 presentation models, and other documents "offer a comprehensive portrait of the emergence and rise to prominence of Gehry’s architectural practice over a 30-year period," in the words of the Getty.

It remains to be seen how researchers and scholars will use the archive, which also includes digital files on designs for the Vitra Museum, Disney Concert Hall and other projects that were pioneering in their use of 3-D software. Next month, selections from the archive will be on view at the Getty in Berlin/Los Angeles: A Space for Music, an exhibition that celebrates the 50th anniversary of the sister-city partnership between Berlin and Los Angeles by exploring Hans Scharoun's Berlin Philharmonic (1963) and the Walt Disney Concert Hall. 
Model of Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, California, 2003. (Frank Gehry Papers at the Getty Research Institute, © Frank O. Gehry)

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