Frank Gehry Residence – Santa Monica, California - Atlas Obscura
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Santa Monica, California

Frank Gehry Residence

Perhaps the most unique of any Frank Gehry design for one simple reason: Gehry himself actually lives here. 

A lot of people would give anything to live or work in a building designed by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry. Those who are in fact lucky enough to have such an experience typically pay handsomely for the opportunity.

Inhabiting a piece of modern art created by one of the few remaining household name architects is a dream come true for most. In fact, the only person who might not be impressed with living in a Gehry house is Frank Gehry himself.

Which is why this odd abode on a quiet Santa Monica street might be the most unique of any Gehry-related building – it happens to be Frank Gehry’s actual house.

And with that distinction comes several more quirky attributes that only this home can boast. The first thing visitors tend to notice, for example, is that this isn’t a normal house, even by Gehry’s standards. It seems to have several walls and structures stapled onto an otherwise typical suburban house. Of course, the explanation for this is simple: that’s exactly what Gehry did.

Ever the contrarian, when it came time to create his own space, Gehry did not build himself an extravagant and shockingly original building, as those might expect of a master architect. Instead, he did what so many Americans do – he found a quaint suburban bungalow on a shaded, quiet street, and moved in.

But of course, ever the creative spirit, he could not leave it at that, a historic 1920s-era property though it was. He set to work adding scaffolding, sheet-metal walls, and oddly-shaped fences; some decorative, some structural, but clearly unique and ostensibly deconstructionist in style, though Gehry maintains that it is not a deconstructionist building.

Whatever you call it, the home is curious, due to both its strangeness and its mild-mannered core. A classic pink bungalow with a shell of hard edges, neither element would be complete without the most important feature of this Gehry creation: the artist himself.

Know Before You Go

This architectural oddity is hard to miss on shady 22nd street at its intersection with Washington Ave.

Please remember to be respectful; this is a private home.

Contributed by
Mark Casey Mark Casey
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