written by:
October 2, 2015
Dwell on Design NY's keynote speakers, architecture critic Paul Goldberger and architect Eric Owen Moss, began their discussion with the origins of modern architecture but ended with a deeper subject: how can you be an architectural insider and outsider?
Dwell on Design New York's keynote panel with Paul Goldberger and Eric Owen Moss.

"The arbiter of cultural content was New York—New York said so—and New York agreed. And Los Angeles didn't." - Eric Owen Moss

1 / 6
Winton Guest House by Frank Gehry

The Wintons commissioned Gehry after reading about his work in The New York Times in 1982. It was the pick of a client with premonition, and as the final structure indicates, an open mind. The architect was asked to create a space for the Wintons' visiting family—five kids and plenty of grandchildren necessitated the extra room—and complement the main home, a brick Philip Johnson “donut” on a 12-acre plot on the shores of Lake Minnetonka. But Gehry followed his own muse, and often talked about the home he created as pure sculpture, according to Victoria Young, the Professor of Modern Architectural History at St. Thomas University and Coordinator of Frank Gehry’s Winton Guest House. “Even the original models have all these disparate shapes,” she says. “The first model he presented to them had a log cabin, referencing the fact that the Wintons' fortune came from Canadian lumber." Since it was a guest house, Gehry felt free to experiment. "You can explore things in a way you can’t in a place people live in all the time.”

Courtesy of 
Wright Auctions
Originally appeared in Would You Buy This Idiosyncratic Frank Gehry Guest House?
2 / 6
Dwell on Design New York's keynote panel with Paul Goldberger and Eric Owen Moss.

"Frank Gehry couldn't have done what he did, or broken as many rules in New York." - Paul Goldberger

3 / 6

Frank Gehry’s Stata Center in Boston is home to MIT’s computer scientists and engineers. 

Originally appeared in "I Live in a Frank Gehry"
4 / 6
Dwell on Design New York's keynote panel with Paul Goldberger and Eric Owen Moss.

"[Frank Gehry] is eighty six and half and still desperately wants to be thought of representing the avant-garde." - Paul Goldberger

5 / 6
Dwell on Design New York's keynote panel with Paul Goldberger and Eric Owen Moss.

"If you fail, you're out, and if you succeed you're out." - Eric Owen Moss. "It's the paradox of the avant garde." - Paul Goldberger

6 / 6
Dwell on Design New York's keynote panel with Paul Goldberger and Eric Owen Moss.

"The arbiter of cultural content was New York—New York said so—and New York agreed. And Los Angeles didn't." - Eric Owen Moss

Eric Owen Moss began the conversation with a brief history of modern architecture: it's always been a constant appropriator of other fields. He said architects like Walter Gropius took an industiral aesthetic from assembly lines, Le Corbusier was inspired by Cubism, and Kenzo Tange used anatomical terms to formulate the metabolist movement. Throughout this history of modern architecture, each movement has thrived on opposition: "architecture needs an adversary, a target... what is it taking down or remedying?" 

The idea of avant-garde architecture—and how to judge its succeses and failures—set the stage for their discussion of Los Angeles and Frank Gehry. Goldberger's latest title, Building Art (Knopf, 2015), is exploration of the life and work of Gehry. Both panelist's close familiarity with the book's subject filled the discussion with funny anecdotes (if you get the chance, ask Goldberger about Frank Gehry, his psychiatrist, and chain link fences). However, you can't talk about Gehry without talking about where he got his architectural start: Los Angeles. Was Gehry's success due to the city's freer artistic atmosphere in the 1960's? L.A. was farther from the the cultural and institutional gatekeepers of New York City. There was no absolute agreement among the panelists (PG: "L.A. cares a lot about being thought to not care as much." EOM: "That's something a New Yorker would say.") but there was consensus that Los Angeles has changed. It's no longer a backwater of sorts: "The expectations for LA are different, now it's a city among cities," said Moss.

Winton Guest House by Frank Gehry

The Wintons commissioned Gehry after reading about his work in The New York Times in 1982. It was the pick of a client with premonition, and as the final structure indicates, an open mind. The architect was asked to create a space for the Wintons' visiting family—five kids and plenty of grandchildren necessitated the extra room—and complement the main home, a brick Philip Johnson “donut” on a 12-acre plot on the shores of Lake Minnetonka. But Gehry followed his own muse, and often talked about the home he created as pure sculpture, according to Victoria Young, the Professor of Modern Architectural History at St. Thomas University and Coordinator of Frank Gehry’s Winton Guest House. “Even the original models have all these disparate shapes,” she says. “The first model he presented to them had a log cabin, referencing the fact that the Wintons' fortune came from Canadian lumber." Since it was a guest house, Gehry felt free to experiment. "You can explore things in a way you can’t in a place people live in all the time.”

Is Frank Gehry still avant-garde, now that he's regularly awarded, sought-after, and part of the established architectural scene? "Everyone says you're nuts," said Moss, "then everyone wants you to do [your architecture] everywhere." Golberger reflected that this was the paradox of the bestselling filmmaker, dancer, or painter: "It's hard for a best-seller to be avant-garde." Ultimately, Moss mused that you'd have to walk through Gehry's office, look at the models, and "make a judgement for yourself" whether his work is still radical. While Goldberger countered that "all work is in a social and political context, and how work relates to that is in interesting story," it seems the fate of the successful avant-garde architect remains in the eye of the beholder.

Dwell on Design New York's keynote panel with Paul Goldberger and Eric Owen Moss.

"[Frank Gehry] is eighty six and half and still desperately wants to be thought of representing the avant-garde." - Paul Goldberger

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

45 dva 2270 persp1 cmyk 0
The prospect of retirement doesn’t just signal the end of a career; it offers the chance to recalibrate and re-prioritize in life.
July 25, 2016
18
You don’t have to choose between sustainable energy and curb appeal.
July 19, 2016
jakemagnus queensland 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
July 06, 2016
content delzresidence 013 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 29, 2016
abc malacari marwick stair 01 0
A simple set of stairs is a remodel’s backbone.
June 28, 2016
Design Award of Excellence winner Mellon Square.
Docomomo US announces the winners of this year's Modernism in America Awards. Each project showcases exemplary modern restoration techniques, practices, and ideas.
June 27, 2016
monogram dwell sf 039 1
After last year’s collaboration, we were excited to team up with Monogram again for the 2016 Monogram Modern Home Tour.
June 27, 2016
switch over chicago smart renovation penthouse deck smar green ball lamps quinze milan lounge furniture garapa hardwood
A strategic rewire enhances a spec house’s gut renovation.
June 26, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent coralie gourguechon treviso italy cphotos by coralie gourguechon co produced by isdat planche anatomique de haut parleur1
Coralie Gourguechon's paper objects will make you see technology in a whole new way.
June 26, 2016
green machine smart home aspen colorado facade yard bocci deck patio savant
Smart technology helps a house in Aspen, Colorado, stay on its sustainable course.
June 25, 2016
Compact Aglol 11 television plastic brionvega.
The aesthetic appeal of personal electronics has long fueled consumer interest. A new industrial design book celebrates devices that broke the mold.
June 25, 2016
modern backyard deck ipe wood
An angled deck transforms a backyard in Menlo Park, California, into a welcoming gathering spot.
June 24, 2016
dscf5485 1
Today, we kicked off this year’s annual Dwell on Design at the LA Convention Center, which will continue through Sunday, June 26th. Though we’ve been hosting this extensive event for years, this time around is particularly special.
June 24, 2016
under the radar renovation napa
Two designers restore a low-slung midcentury gem in Napa, California, by an unsung Bay Area modernist.
June 24, 2016
Exterior of Huneeus/Sugar Bowl Home.
San Francisco–based designer Maca Huneeus created her family’s weekend retreat near Lake Tahoe with a relaxed, sophisticated sensibility.
June 24, 2016
light and shadow bathroom walnut storage units corian counter vola faucet
A Toronto couple remodel their home with a special emphasis on a spacious kitchen and a material-rich bathroom.
June 24, 2016
Affordable home in Kansas City living room
In Kansas City, an architecture studio designs an adaptable house for a musician on a budget.
June 23, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment oak vertical slats office
By straightening angles, installing windows, and adding vertical accents, architect Aaron Ritenour brought light and order to an irregularly shaped apartment in the heart of Athens, Greece.
June 23, 2016
kitchen confidential tiles custom cabinetry oak veneer timber house
A modest kitchen addition to a couple’s cottage outside of Brisbane proves that one 376-square-foot room can revive an entire home.
June 23, 2016
feldman architecture 0
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 22, 2016
Blackened timber Dutch home
A modern dwelling replaces a fallen farmhouse.
June 22, 2016
hillcrest house interior kitchen 3
Seeking an escape from bustling city life, a Manhattan couple embarks on a renovation in the verdant Hudson Valley.
June 22, 2016
angular
Atelier Moderno renovated an old industrial building to create a luminous, modern home.
June 21, 2016
San Francisco floating home exterior
Anchored in a small San Francisco canal, this floating home takes its cues from a classic city habitat.
June 21, 2016
modern renovation addition solar powered scotland facade steel balcony
From the bones of a neglected farmstead in rural Scotland emerges a low-impact, solar-powered home that’s all about working with what was already there.
June 21, 2016
up in the air small space new zealand facade corrugated metal cladding
An architect with a taste for unconventional living spaces creates a small house at lofty heights with a starring view.
June 21, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent marjan van aubel london cwai ming ng current window
Marjan Van Aubel makes technology a little more natural.
June 21, 2016
urban pastoral brooklyn family home facade steel cypress double
Building on the site of a former one-car garage, an architect creates his family’s home in an evolving neighborhood of Brooklyn.
June 20, 2016
Modern Brooklyn backyard studio with plexiglass skylight, green roof, and cedar cladding facade
In a Brooklyn backyard, an off-duty architect builds a structure that tests his attention to the little things.
June 20, 2016
the outer limits paris prefab home living area vertigo lamp constance guisset gijs bakker strip tablemetal panels
In the suburbs of Paris, an architect with an eco-friendly practice doesn’t let tradition stand in the way of innovation.
June 20, 2016