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A second Gehry for Paris


Later this year, the recently created Louis Vuitton Foundation will unveil its spectacular 100 million Euro building in Paris' Bois de Boulogne: A sinuous "greenhouse" shaped like a cloud by stArchitect Frank Gehry, but not the first creation by said architect in the French capital.
Remember not so long ago (mid 1980s), the American Center headquarters in Bercy, Paris got designed by a then not-yet iconic Gehry in his somewhat earlier half-organic style, creating something in between Bilbao's Guggenheim and the Disney Concert Hall. Not really a beauty if you ask me, but then again there were worse eyesores built in Paris in those times.

Unfortunately, the American Center's adventure wasn't lasting for a very long timeframe. Skeptics at the time thought the building’s 41 million dollar costs (almost cheap compared to the new one) posed a heavy financial burden on the center, whose mission is to support cultural educational and artistic activities.
The Center’s leaders, however, gambled on the fact that the new, high-profile facility would attract interest and donations. Unfortunately operating costs and a growing debt forced the center’s board of directors to close the building in January 1996, only 19 months after it opened. It got reconverted into a home for the French Cinematheque in recent years.
Let us hope the destiny of the second quirky Parisian Gehry brainchild will not have a similar destiny. But then again, it could always function as an auxiliary greenhouse in case luxury giant LVMH was to go bankrupt. In our wacky financial times anything goes.

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5 Responses to “A second Gehry for Paris”

  1. # Anonymous Annie

    Cedric,
    Thanks for the update on Gehry in Paris. The week it opened, I was at the American Center's first show and almost had the place to myself. The building interior was interesting but I'm not a fan of Gehry's architecture (His Tiffany's jewelry is popular here.)  

  2. # Blogger DarkCity

    Bonjour! Cedric,
    The architecture in the photos are very unique and deco...

    Once again, Thank-you! for sharing
    the photographs and all the informative information too!
    Merci! Beaucoup!
    Darkcitydame ;-D  

  3. # Blogger Qaisy Jaslenda

    -people like new things.

    but new things ain't last long.

    -unless the architects could find the 'timeless design' during their time.

    which is very rare to happen since
    "Architecture has the element of time" - Ando.

    -Is there any particular building evolves through time?



    P.S. I'm a big fan of gehry anyway.  

  4. # Blogger Permaisuri

    okay, enough, I'm going =DD  

  5. # Anonymous Anonymous

    I live near Gehry's house in Los Angeles. We call it "Farmhouse in Bondage." In LA, the heat is blistering in summer, and his back yard is paved with the same black tar mcadam as the street, and the back of the house is (or was) covered in reflective sheets of metal about 2ft square. A lovely old pink farmhouse is entirely framed by wood and metal link fencing, with chicken-wire embedded glass on the corners. I have no idea what it looks like inside, but it was built at the time when he liked using raw, unfinished 2x4 lumber and no covering for his electrical fixtures. I like his drawings, but the Disney in downtown LA can only be appreciated from about a mile off. Up close, you are forced away from the building by its tilting metal facing. Plus, when it was being built, the glare off the metal reflected offensively into the homes nearby, blinding the residents, and the metal had to be altered to be less reflective. To say that I think his stuff is ugly is to only give an opinion, but to note how useless his buildings are for anything other than interesting drawings is a fact.  

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    I am Cedric, discoverer of things that would go unnoticed in the streets of Paris, historic haven of fashionistas and city of lights ('lights' as in 'enlightenment', not street lights).
    But seriously: I'm an expat from Luxembourg (the country, not the garden), living in the center of Paris (hence 'Paris 2nd arrondissement'), and currenlty studying architectural history...


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