Frank O. Gehry was born i Canada but studied architecture at the University of Southern California from where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in 1954. During the same year he changed his name from Goldberg to Gehry, and in 1955 he joined the Special Services Division of the U.S.A. Army where he designed his first object, a collapsible field latrine.
From 1956 to -57 Gehry studied urban planning at the Harvard Graduate School of Design in Cambridge, Massachusetts and during 1958-60 he designed the Steeves Residence in Brentwood, California. Gehry studied in Europe from 1961 to -62, where he also worked as an architect for André Rémondet in Paris.
Back in U.S.A. he founded Frank O. Gehry & Associates in Los Angeles, where one of the first commissions was the studio and residence of graphic designer Lou Danziger in Hollywood 1964. As a furniture designer Gehry made his debut in 1972 with the collection Easy Edges, consisting of seventeen cardboard furniture where one of the most well-known is the Wiggle side chair. Production and distribution were handled by the New York company Easy Edges, which Gehry had established specifically for this purpose. Easy Edges were all made of several layers of cardboard that had been laminated and after the surface was sanded it was sealed with wax.
Besides the Wiggle side Chair, the range consisted of a bar stool, side tables, a dining table, and a rocking chair. Due to its groundbreaking design and their affordable price, the pieces soon became a huge success, which Gehry wasn’t too happy about, seeing himself first and foremost as an architect. Because of this he ceased the production after only three months and didn’t allow to be picked up again until the 1980’s (the Experimental Edges collection was launched in 1981) when he had established himself as an architect.
During the 1980’s Gehry worked on several major architectural commission, such as the California Aerospace Museum in Los Angeles (1982-84) and the Vitra Design Museum and factory in Weil am Rhein in Germany (1989). He also had his first major exhibition called Frank Gehry: Unique Fish Lamps at the Gagosina Gallery in Los Angeles in 1984. In 1989 he won the Pritzker prize.
In 1990 Gehry designed the Bentwood collection for Knoll International in Pennsylvania while the first exhibition on his furniture Mueble y dibujos was shown at b.d. Madrid in Barcelona. From 1990 until 2015 Gehry completed several major architectural projects, of which the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao (1993-97), the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles (1999-2003), and Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris (2006-14) are the most prolific.
Over the years Gehry has lecutured at several universities, including Harvard and Yale, where he served as Charlotte-Davenport-Professorship of Architecture (1982, 1985, 1987-89). The number of retrospective exhibitons of Gehry’s work and awards, honors, and honorary doctorates that he has received are numerous and international, but to name a few Gehry was elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in 1974.
Gehry is a senior fellow of the Design Futures Council and serves on the steering committee of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. In 2016 Gehry was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama and was appointed honorary doctor at the University of Oxford, Great Britain. Frank Gehry is represented at museums all over the world.