You would be forgiven for thinking that Frank O. Gehry’s complex architecture is a result of mere computer 3-D modeling, but his design process is actually far more involved. When Gehry has an idea, he knows how to develop it – by hand. Recently displayed in Tokyo, a surprising exhibition dedicated to the work of the great Canadian-born architect reveals the steps that go into each new project. “I have an idea” is an inspiring story that uncovers the secrets of Gehry’s creativity and illustrates how his intricate imagination manifests step-by-step into real physical forms

Each design story on display starts with the first visionary concept that then evolves into detailed models of almost real (though out of scale) buildings. At first, they are simple wooden blocks and color-coded volumes that help to determine the building’s functional program and its overall form. Next, cardboard and thin paper that can be made into different shapes are used to study each building’s shape. And then, many more different materials and “construction techniques” including vinyl, canvas and 3D-printed components, go into action. Hundreds of models for each project are made, evaluated, destroyed, and re-made. Through this process, forms are tested and completely new ideas are born from there, bringing the project closer to the desired goal of creating sustainable, environmentally innovative structures which benefit man.


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