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Frank Gehry comes home

December 12th, 2016

The Toronto-born “starchitect” dishes on his childhood, architecture and…Wayne Gretzky?

Frank Gehry in conversation in Baillie Court.

Only days after having received America’s Presidential Medal of Freedom, Toronto’s own Frank Gehry once again stepped foot on our spiral staircase. His visit was timely: November marked the eight-year anniversary of the Gehry-led Transformation AGO project, the inspired revamp that added 97,000 square feet to our building and put it on the world’s architectural map.

In front of a sold-out crowd of 500 hundred art and architecture lovers, Gehry spoke for over an hour about his childhood in Toronto, his decision to pursue architecture, current affairs and ongoing projects.  Accompanied onstage by his biographer Paul Goldberger and Lisa Rochon, the former architecture critic of The Globe and Mail, the conversation was lively and poignant. Recalling how he had once received a signed hockey stick from Wayne Gretzky and repaid the gift with a pair of signed signature chairs, Gehry had the crowd in stitches when he added that the chairs had been quickly re-gifted.

As a screen scrolled in the background featuring images of his award-winning creations, Gehry shared stories about mentoring in schools, and was quick to remind audiences that good architecture shouldn’t be for the elite. “Museums don’t have to be special. We did Bilbao in 1997 for $300 a square foot. That’s less than the cost of many current commercial buildings in North America.” Never one to rest on his laurels, Gehry made it clear that at the age of 87 he has no intention of stopping any time soon, and admitted to be being driven by what he calls “a healthy insecurity.”

You can see the entire conversation here:

Interested in attending a talk? Click here for more information. AGO Members get discounts to workshops, classes and lectures. Check out the benefits of AGO Membership.

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