Sydney’s big story last week was about a crane which caught fire and collapsed on a construction site at the University of Technology, Sydney, crumpling the building below it. Fortunately nobody was hurt.
UTS will soon get a building which is supposed to look as if a crane has fallen on it, when Frank Gehry comes to town.
The octogenarian designer of iconic architecture will be represented in Australia from 2014. Not everybody is pleased. The estimated cost of his ‘crumpled paper bag’ building at the University of Technology is now $180million, up from the original $150million estimate.
This comes at a time when the NSW state government is slashing $1.7billion from education spending, and funding is to be completely withdrawn from all TAFE art courses. It’s bound to be controversial.
Love them or hate them, nobody can ignore Frank Gehry buildings. Mevrouw T and I happen to be fans. We’ve recently admired his work in Dusseldorf, Bilbao and Elciego.
‘Elciego?’ I hear you ask. It’s a village in northern Spain, largely unnoticed by the outside world until the Hotel Marques de Riscal popped up there.
Bilbao is a pleasant provincial town, but since the branch of the Guggenheim Museum opened its doors in 1997, Bilbao has been well and truly on the tourist map. The curators have assembled a collection of unmissable iconic art, Jeff Koons’ Puppy being the most famous and recognisable, but it’s Frank Gehry’s building that every visitor to Bilbao goes to see.
Our introduction to Mr Gehry’s work was in Dusseldorf, where a block of apartments have become a tourist attraction.
We’re looking forward to seeing the UTS building completed. It remains to be seen whether Frank Gehry’s creation will inspire its architecture students to great achievements. At 83 years young he shows no signs of going gentle into the good night, fending off his critics with pride. Keep it up, Mr Gehry!
And let’s hope there’s still enough money left over to keep the art, architecture and design courses running. They’re not just optional extras – they make life worth living. IMHO.
What do you think of Frank Gehry’s work? Is it an asset to any city or indulgence we can do without?