Experiencing Great Architecture and Creative Built Environments

Frank Gehry

Vontz Center for Molecular Studies (1999)

Frank Gehry, Architect

University of Cncinnati

3125 Eden Avenue, Cincinnati OH 45267

Aerial View and Map

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Visited August 27, 2011

Gehry’s first “all brick” building stands as a sculpture on the University of Cincinnati’s campus. It is an interesting assembly of  forms with windows applied in various shapes floating or rotated out from the brick skin. From a fountain and lawn on the west side of the building, there is a grand brick stair as wide as the facade leading up to the building. At the top of the stairway, where you would expect a grand entrance,  is a brick wall with a wide window above the top landing with no door. You have to contunue around the building wing to get to a doorway. The grand stairway forms more of a pedestal for a sculpture, not a grand entry for a building. It is an interseting work of art.

Vontz Center Webpage

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Peter B. Lewis Building (2002)

Frank Gehry, Architect

11119 Bellflower Road, Cleveland, OH 44106

On the Case Western Reserve University Campus

Map and Aerial View

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Visited June 1, 2011

Home of the Weatherhead School of Management


Center for the Visual Arts (1992)

Frank Gehry, Architect

Connected to the East End of the Toledo Museum of Art,

2445 Monroe Street, Toledo, OH 43620

Map and Aerial View

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Visited May 31, 2011

The University of Toledo Center for the Visual Arts is an early Frank Gehry design. The composition is an arrangement of geometric solid forms, clusted and stacked. Here Gehry is using lead covered copper panels to enclose volumes which define the space. Compare this to Gehry’s later designs where the metal panels are polished stainless steel and the surfaces are more flamboyantly curved and sculpted, flaring in and out in a free form composition.

The Center for the Visual Arts building is attached to the Toledo Museum of Art with a one story link. On the Monroe Street side the Center and Museum are seperated/screened by dense plantings and an earth berm, allowing the Center visually stands alone from the Museum as you drive west on Monroe Street.

On the South side of the Center, adjacent to the entry is a Japanese inspired rock garden. It includes with several large rocks carefully placed in a raked white gravel field. This garden is enclosed by an odd green tinted glass tall fence. I am curious to find out the story behind this garden and it’s fence. It just seems, well…odd.

I personally like the weathered lead panels and the volumetric composition of the North facade of the Center better than the glare, distortion and spectacle of some of Gehry’s later works.

Also visit the Toledo Museum of Art Glass Pavilion (2006) across the street by another Pritzker Prize winning architectural firm SANAA from Japan.


BP Bridge (2004)

Frank Gehry, Architect

Millenium Park, Chicago

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From the Archive

The BP Bridge in Millenium Park is a meandering path which must be experienced in person to appreciate. Completed in 2004, the bridge is just one design of note in the park, but was one of the most unexpected surprises. The 925 foot long serpentine stainless steel sculpture spans Columbus Drive connecting Daley Bicentennial Plaza with the Great Lawn and Lurie Garden in Millenium Park. While in Millenium Park do not miss the Cloud Gate, Crown Fountain, Lurie Garden, and Gehry’s Jay Pritzker Pavillion.