The AFC Guide to Every Frank Gehry-Designed Museum

by Paddy Johnson and Corinna Kirsch on May 29, 2014 · 1 comment Resources


It seems like nearly every museum nowadays has a shiny, fishlike Gehry, but looking around, there’s no good resource that lists only the museums. We here at AFC want to make your life easier, so we’ve come up with the ultimate resource on every single Gehry-designed museum ever. There are eight in total (fewer than you might think), and three under construction. Here’s a look at all of them:

California Museum of Science and Industry (air and space exhibit building), Los Angeles, CA
Most important fact: Pretty sure this is the only Gehry-designed museum with an IMAX center.


Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, Germany
Most important fact: Frank Gehry’s first building project of any kind in Europe.


Frederick Weisman Museum of Art, Minneapolis, MN
Most important fact: The very first Frank Gehry built in the United States! Like many Gehry’s don’t look at it straight on in the sun because the silvery roofing will blind you. Also, AFC’s Corinna Kirsch used to work there.


Cinémathèque Française Film Center and Museum, Paris, France
Most important fact: This Gehry building wasn’t actually meant to house the Cinémathèque Française. It was planned as the American Center of Paris, but the center closed just 19 months after the Gehry building was completed. And then they sold their Gehry building to cover their debts.

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Bilbao, Spain
Most important fact: In “Little Frank and His Carp” (2001), Andrea Fraser acted out her familiar role of museum tour guide, this time at Bilbao. The title’s a reference to a Frank Gehry origin story: As a child, he would go buy a carp with his grandmother at the Toronto fish market for their weekly Sabbath supper. Somehow that experience got translated into architecture.

MARTa Herford, Herford, Germany
Most important fact: This museum builds on a former textile factory constructed in 1959.

The Art Gallery of Ontario
Most important fact: Gehry grew up in Toronto, so this building is supposed to be more sensitive than others to local surroundings. That’s true—Gehry’s use of wood, a material Canada and Toronto is rich with well reflect the city—but the north facade looks squished against Bloor Street. Paddy reviewed this building for Frieze in 2008.

Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art, Biloxi, Mississippi
Most important fact: In 2005, museum construction had to be halted because of Hurricane Katrina, when a casino barge flew into the museum campus.

Future Gehrys Under Construction

Biomuseuo, Panama City, Panama
Expected completion: 2014

Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Expected completion: 2017

Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
Expected completion: Sometime before 2028
How busy is Frank Gehry? In 2005, the Philadelphia Museum of Art announced that the museum would be getting a Gehry. This year, the museum announced it would be completed by 2028, to celebrate the museum’s centennial. Frank Gehry will celebrate his 99th birthday in 2028.

{ 1 comment }

Erin May 30, 2014 at 12:43 am

How about the EMP Museum in Seattle (originally opened with the name Experience Music Project)? It opened in 2000.

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