Frank Owen Gehry

Architecture of motion

Frank Owen Gehry

Born in 1929 in Toron­to, Cana­da, Frank Owen Gehry has intro­du­ced an unmist­aka­ble for­mal lan­guage into archi­tec­tu­re. Angled pla­nes, bio­mor­phic forms, see­mingly til­ting spaces and unu­su­al com­bi­na­ti­ons of mate­ri­als are cha­rac­te­ristic of an archi­tec­tu­ral style that seems to set sta­tic buil­dings in moti­on. A per­fect exam­p­le can be seen at Pari­ser Platz 3 in Ber­lin: the DZ BANK buil­ding finis­hed in 2001. 
Frank Owen Gehry in der AXICA

On Frank Gehry’s trail in Berlin

Architecture of motion

Today, Frank O. Gehry is con­side­red as one of the most meaningful repre­sen­ta­ti­ves of decon­s­truc­ti­vism. He hims­elf doesn’t feel like belon­ging to this type of archi­tec­tu­re howe­ver, and sees the roots for his style in his own inner doubts about a straight­for­ward world. Gehry oppo­ses sta­tic forms with a dyna­mic crea­ted by the con­nec­tion of diver­gent con­s­truc­tion ele­ments, making spaces appear to be flowing into each other.

Gehry expres­sed his approach for the first time when reno­vat­ing his own house, which made him an over­night star in the US-Ame­ri­­can archi­tec­tu­re cir­cle. He decon­s­truc­ted his two-sto­ry home, left the frame int­act and cover­ed it with bar­bed wire and cor­ru­ga­ted sheet metals. The effect: a house appearing to explode.

Apart from buil­dings like the Dancing House in Pra­gue or the „Walt Dis­ney Con­cert Hall“ in Los Ange­les, one of Gehry’s most famous con­s­truc­tions is con­side­red to be the Gug­gen­heim muse­um ope­ned in the 90s in Bil­bao – an archi­tec­tu­ral won­der made of glass, tita­ni­um and lime­s­tone that the Spa­nish indus­tri­al city owes an unpar­al­le­led eco­no­mic ups­wing to.

The DZ BANK buil­ding, finis­hed in 2001, counts as one of Gehry’s few con­s­truc­tions in Ger­ma­ny and the only one in Ber­lin in direct vici­ni­ty to the Bran­den­burg Gate.

The hidden whale at Brandenburg Gate

Pariser Platz 3

The DZ BANK buil­ding at Pari­ser Platz 3 cap­ti­va­tes through a ten­si­on bet­ween mode­st and sta­tic forms, as well as an extro­ver­ted archi­tec­tu­re typi­cal for Frank Gehry that sets the buil­ding into moti­on and mes­me­ri­zes every visitor.

To har­mo­ni­cal­ly inte­gra­te the buil­ding into the ensem­ble of Pari­ser Platz, a lot of empha­sis was put on matching the eaves height of the sur­roun­ding buil­dings. With the faca­de Gehry coun­ted on a plain form of ele­gan­ce – by using a high per­cen­ta­ge of glass and light sand­stone as con­s­truc­tion mate­ri­als – so as not to ste­al the Bran­den­burg Gate’s thun­der at Pari­ser Platz.

It is only when ente­ring the buil­ding that the uncom­pro­mi­sing rup­tu­re with this archi­tec­tu­ral shy­ness reve­als itself.The inner life forms an atri­um floo­ded with light, cover­ed by a high-arched glass roof. When loo­king down from abo­ve it gives the impres­si­on of a sub­mer­ging wha­le – len­ding the DZ BANK buil­ding the nick­na­me „the Wha­le at Bran­den­burg Gate“.
In the „Bel­ly of the Wha­le“ there’s a bio­mor­phic room sculp­tu­re the archi­tect dri­ly coin­ed the „ple­num“, with a spa­cious forum exten­ding at its feet.

While the big part of the buil­ding hou­ses offices and con­do­mi­ni­ums, the ple­num, foy­er and the Sky Lob­by are used by AXICA as an event loca­ti­on – accom­pa­nied by exten­si­ve ser­vices such as plan­ning, in-house cate­ring and event organization.

More than an event location: a place for encounters

Be it con­gress rooms for for­ging big ide­as or con­fe­rence rooms with a view of the capi­tal: AXICA pro­vi­des a space for visi­ons in Frank Gehry’s Ber­lin masterpiece.