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A Frank Gehry Collection

May 03, 1987|ELIZABETH VENANT

If Frank Gehry has brought an artist's sensibility to architecture, Los Angeles has been his palette. Five of his better-known buildings:

Loyola Law School. Expanding the Downtown campus, Gehry set out to create a space that would not upstage the surrounding neighborhood. Echoing the Roman Forum, he placed small buildings and a chapel around a miniature piazza.

Rebecca's. The Venice hot spot is blue-chip Mexican and a wry social comment on itself. Huge crocodiles and a bejeweled octopus swim from the ceiling, and an imitation-Mexican painting on velvet by Peter Alexander depicts sea life.

The Norton House. In this "ultimate beach shack," Gehry co-opts the cacophony of the Venice boardwalk with a zany mix of low-budget materials, including ordinary kitchen tile and a pile of logs used as a sunscreen. Most stunning is the study that perches like a lifeguard tower over the beach. But the glare, it turns out, prevents the screenwriter-owner from using his word processor there.

The Wosk Residence. Constructing an artist's penthouse home-atelier in Beverly Hills, Gehry made an eye-catching rooftop village. The colliding exterior elements contrast with a continuous interior space flooded with natural light.

The California Aerospace Museum. A real Lockheed F-104 Starfighter jet is frozen in takeoff, and the building was conceived as a giant, hangar-like space. Gehry has observed, "It's the closest thing I'll ever get to designing a Gothic cathedral."

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