Frank Gehry has been the number-one superstar of architecture for a generation now, going roughly as far back to the unveiling of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao in 1997. His shimmering buildings often resemble curved paper, and as top dog in the architecture world, his buildings have come in for some criticism for being not entirely practical in every respect.
Gehry was in Oviedo, Spain, last week at a press conference related to the country’s Prince of Asturias Awards program for the arts. A journalist asked Gehry, according to De Zeen magazine, “what his response was to people who accused him of creating architecture for show.” Here was his answer, as tweeted by Inés Martín Rodrigo on Thursday:
Translation (thank you Google): “Answer by Frank Gehry to the first question of journalists in Oviedo.”
Gehry then said, “Let me tell you one thing. In the world we live in, 98 percent of what gets built and designed today is pure shit. ... There’s no sense of design nor respect for humanity or anything. They’re bad buildings and that’s it.”
Gehry continued, “Every now and then, however, a small number of people do something special. They’re very few. But—my God!—leave us in peace! We dedicate ourselves to our work. I don’t beg for work. I don’t have publicists. I’m not waiting for people to call me. I work with clients who have respect for the art of architecture. At the very least, don’t ask stupid questions like this.” Observers on the scene report that this answer was met with an uncomfortable silence. Gehry then apologized, pointing to fatigue from his travels from France that day to attend the press conference. “Please, you have to understand that I’m tired and a little dazed by the trip. ... I’ll mumble an apology.” It’s worth keeping in mind that Gehry is currently 85 years old.
Just for fun I Googled the terms “gehry badass” and, wouldn’t you know it, came up with this hit: “Frank Gehry, Architectural Badass.” Which confirms what we already knew, Frank Gehry is a badass.