A Visual Guide to Frank Gehry’s Architectural Impact on Los Angeles

And he has more projects on the way …

One of the most influential architects of modern times, Frank Gehry makes his design imprint on all corners of the world. But it’s here, at home in Los Angeles, that the celebrated and sometimes controversial visionary transformed the landscape like no other. With several projects currently in the works, Los Angeles Magazine looks back at eight significant structures that reveal Gehry’s evolving design relationship with the City of Angels. Here are some highlights:

Ronald Davis Studio & Residence
Malibu, 1972

“Designed in the late ’60s and completed in 1972, this private residence was one of the first to show what would become Gehry’s signature style. Note the corrugated metal cladding and asymmetrical shape. Purchased by actor Patrick Dempsey in 2009, the home was destroyed by the Woolsey Fire in 2018.”


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Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
San Pedro, 1981

“This aquarium from relatively early in Gehry’s career isn’t visited as often as some of his other public works, but is worth seeking out for its interesting metal slat-covered facade, which transforms an otherwise fairly conventional, low-slung structure into something a bit more evocative of the waves and aquatic life contained within.”


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Chiat/Day Building (aka “Binoculars Building”)
Venice, 2001

“Construction on this office building, commissioned for the advertising agency now known as TBWA\Chiat\Day, lasted from 1991 to 2001. And Gehry had an interesting note: to incorporate the massive-scale public artwork Giant Binoculars by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen into the facade. In 2011, Google took over most of the offices inside.”


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Walt Disney Concert Hall
Downtown L.A., 2003

“People used to joke that the Hollywood Sign was L.A.’s only landmark, but that was before the Walt Disney Concert Hall opened its doors. The swooping, silver structure is unmistakable and became an instant icon. Gehry would echo the shapes and motifs of Disney Hall in structures from Chicago’s Pritzker Pavilion to MARTa in Herford, Germany.”


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View all 8 projects here.

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