Frank, Who Liked to Build: The Archi­tec­ture of Frank Gehry

Deb­o­rah Blu­men­thal, Maria Brzo­zows­ka (Illus­tra­tor)

  • Review
By – April 27, 2022

This biog­ra­phy of a famous Cana­di­an-Amer­i­can archi­tect is pre­sent­ed through freeform illus­tra­tions that grab your atten­tion the way his build­ings do. Ener­gy jumps off each page, with the book’s com­bi­na­tion of evoca­tive words and emblem­at­ic works.

Author Blu­men­thal ties Frank Gehry’s Jew­ish her­itage to his career and his vision. She does not mince words about the anti­semitism that made him change his name or the dis­ap­proval of his par­ents regard­ing his art career, which they felt would be just a dream. His grand­moth­er is his rock, giv­ing him chal­lah pieces to con­struct the shapes in his head.

Gehry has a per­son­al vision, which he suc­cess­ful­ly forms into dra­mat­ic, use­ful build­ings all over the world; the build­ings are dis­tinc­tive­ly shaped, and they wel­come mil­lions of vis­i­tors. His dar­ing use of form and mate­r­i­al earn him the cov­et­ed Pritzk­er Archi­tec­ture Prize, the equiv­a­lent of the Nobel.

In this pic­ture book, a bold, descrip­tive vocab­u­lary holds its own against the dri­ving, swirling art. Gehry stud­ies, plays, invents, and above all dreams. Then he turns the pos­si­bil­i­ties into real­i­ty by start­ing with ordi­nary and shap­ing it into extra­or­di­nary one build­ing at a time.”

Ellen G. Cole, a retired librar­i­an of the Levine Library of Tem­ple Isa­iah in Los Ange­les, is a past judge of the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Awards and a past chair­per­son of that com­mit­tee. She is a co-author of the AJL guide, Excel­lence in Jew­ish Children’s Lit­er­a­ture. Ellen is the recip­i­ent of two major awards for con­tri­bu­tion to Juda­ic Librar­i­an­ship, the Fan­ny Gold­stein Mer­it Award from the Asso­ci­a­tion of Jew­ish Libraries and the Dorothy Schroed­er Award from the Asso­ci­a­tion of Jew­ish Libraries of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia. She is on the board of AJLSC.

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