Architecture critic Martin Filler, one-time friend of Frank Gehry (he was even asked by Gehry to write his authorized biography), seems to be making amends in his NYTimes review of Barbara Isenberg’s “Conversations With Frank Gehry.” Filler, you may remember, wrote a scathing indictment of Gehry's design for Brooklyn's Atlantic Yards project in House & Garden in 2007, declaring it would “ruin a racially and economically diverse neighborhood of a sort almost extinct in today’s money-mad metropolis” and the scale "nothing less than nuts.” Ouch. Good thing the economy took care of that boondoggle. Now Filler appears to be redressing past criticism (though he can't resist one last dig at the Atlantic Yards project). He also questions Gehry's (né Goldberg's) seeming obliviousness to interest in his name change. What does Filler attribute Gehry's success to (aside from excellent celebrity connections)? Los Angeles: "When he was 18, the Goldbergs resettled in Los Angeles and could not have picked a better environment for a nascent architect. The city has been more hospitable to design innovation than any other American metropolis, thanks to a benign climate that forgives inexpensive materials, an open-minded citizenry receptive to new forms of domestic living, and an air of creative freedom antithetical to the conformist tendencies of mainstream architectural firms in New York and Chicago." But those celebrity connections sure helped too.
· Essence of the Architect [NYT]