Frank Gehry has given critics the middle finger salute and described today’s architecture as “pure s***.”
El Mundo, a large Spanish newspaper, has reported the renowned starachitect made the gesture during a press conference in Oviedo where he was receiving a Prince of Asturias Award of Arts 2014.
It all began with the reporter asked “How do you answer to those who accuse you of practicing showy architecture?”
This prompted Gehry to flip the bird followed by a moderator quickly requesting the next question. Gehry, however, complemented his gesture with these words, courtesy of El Mundo, Gizmodo and Google Translate: “Let me tell you one thing,” Gehry began. “In this world we are living in, 98 per cent of everything that is built and designed today is pure s***.”
“There’s no sense of design, no respect for humanity or for anything else. They are damn buildings and that’s it. Once in a while, however, there’s a small group of people who does something special. Very few. But good god, leave us alone!
“We are dedicated to our work. I don’t ask for work. I don’t have a publicist. I’m not waiting for anyone to call me. I work with clients who respect the art of architecture. Therefore, please don’t ask questions as stupid as that one.”
Following a long and uncomfortable silence, Gehry offered an apology of sorts.
“Please, you have to understand that I’m tired and a little dazed by the trip…” he said. “I’m sorry I was caught and I had misplaced that reaction, will you excuse me? I’m just doing my job.”
While it may have been difficult for the reporter to continue, he did, and Gehry offered information on his architectural training and spoke of his titanium clad Guggenheim Museum Bilbao project, discussing its Eastern influences.
He also reflected on urban influences from Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier, discussed Japanese architecture in its formative years and on his latest project, Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, his hopes that the structure’s “double skin of concrete and glass” would make it a “living building.”
Gehry is often as critised as he is celebrated for his architectural creations. His signature surreal-like and sculptured designs, rippling steel and curvaceous forms rub some critics the wrong way.
Others argue he’s a modernist, pushes the boundaries of geometry and challenges materials by shaping them into dream-like forms.
Whatever opinions circulate on Gehry’s work, he has now set the record straight. He’s just doing his job and has got a finger up to prove it.