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Architect Frank Gehry’s work is inextricably connected to Los Angeles. And if L.A. is a city of neighborhoods, as is often said, Gehry’s trajectory and standing as a towering figure in his field can be traced back to Santa Monica and its adjacent communities.
The Toronto-raised Gehry, born Ephraim Owen Goldberg, arrived in L.A. with his family in his late teens in 1947, as the city was hitting its postwar expansionist stride. Soon, his path included driving a delivery truck, studying under ceramic artist Glen Lukens at the University of Southern California and a fateful introduction to architect Raphael Soriano at the modern home Soriano designed for Lukens, followed by military service. Next was a year immersed in city planning at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design and travels through Europe.
The time away reinforced why Southern California called to Gehry, with its geography, unconventional creative fodder, and burgeoning avant-garde art scene. “Art gives you a sense of freedom,” he told the Los Angeles Times in 1981. “There were rigid rules in architecture, and there don’t need to be.”
A garish triangular tower by Herzog & de Meuron, slated for completion by 2026, is sparking a firestorm of architectural debate in Paris.
Parisians are enragé at news that a towering pyramid-shaped building will rise near the Parc des Expositions de Porte de Versailles in the 15th arrondissement. The 42-story glass Tour Triangle, designed by Herzog & de Meuron, is expected to include offices, a luxury hotel, and retail space. When completed, it will transform the Parisian skyline forever. The tower is already drawing unfavorable comparisons to the neighboring Tour Montparnasse, a ‘70s-era skyscraper not quite in tune with the Parisian vernacular that remains a the subject of widespread derision to this day.
So what’s exactly the issue? Renderings indeed show the tower blatantly sticking out from its surroundings, and while some are drawing comparisons to I.M. Pei’s beloved Louvre Pyramid, others liken it to a “giant elongated wedge of Toblerone chocolate” and “a big piece of brie in the sky that can be seen from everywhere.” And even though the tower barely surpasses 600 feet, that height is still tall for Paris proper. Locals argue the skyscraper belongs in La Défense, a business district outside city limits where glassy commercial buildings abound.
New York has always been home to some of the world’s tallest towers, but in the last 10 years the city has seen an influx of super skinny buildings towering over Central Park, built exclusively for the ultra-rich. With demand for luxury high-rise vistas being higher than ever, building developers are using every zoning opportunity they can to push height limits – and there’s one loophole that’s helping make that happen.