(gĕr´ē) , 1929-, American architect, b. Toronto, Canada as Frank Owen Goldberg. He is widely considered one of the finest and most artful of contemporary architects. In 1947, Gehry's family moved to Los Angeles, where he attended the Univ. of California; he later studied at Harvard. He has been acclaimed for his original, sophisticated, adventurous, and very American buildings. Extremely varied and lively, his structures contrast space and materials; often jutting, unusual shapes are juxtaposed with simple geometric forms. In his earlier work these forms are expressed in a wide range of usual and unusual architectural materials (e.g., raw plywood, corrugated aluminum, and exposed pipe) that sometimes give these buildings a deliberately unfinished quality. Among his many important commissions are the Loyola Law School (1981-84), Walt Disney Concert Hall (1989), and the Team Disneyland Building (1995), Los Angeles; “Gehry's Fish” (1992), Barcelona; the Weisman Museum of Art (1993), Minneapolis, the first of his all metal-clad buildings; and the former American Center (1994), Paris. Gehry's later work displays a curving complexity made possible by computer programs and other innovative design tools, many of which he and his team have developed. While these metal-clad buildings have distinct similarities, they differ significantly in shape, proportion, materials, and relation to the sites they occupy. His most important and acclaimed building to date is the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain (1997), a large structure of voluptuous, swooping, organic forms covered in gleaming titanium steel that made him an international star. Gehry also uses curving metal-covered walls in his Experience Music Project rock music museum in Seattle (2000). His design for the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts (2003) at Bard College combines the characteristic billowing steel shapes at its facade with the unadorned concrete that forms the rear of the building. The Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles (2003) has a sumptuous matte-finish stainless steel facade comprised of several large upward-curving elements punctuated by a hinged glass-panel entry, and a beautiful, acoustically superb interior clad in Douglas fir.

The architect returned to geometric forms in the computer-assisted complexity of his Stata Center (2004), Cambridge, Mass., the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's computer-science building-a tilting and colorful conglomeration of towers, cubes, tubes, and cones in steel, aluminum, and brick whose open interior spaces are designed to promote encounters among its scientist inhabitants. Gehry also designs furniture and other utilitarian objects. Prominent among his many awards are the Pritzker Prize (1989) and the first Gish Award (1994).