The jury chaired by Hans Hollein (Austria) and made up of Odile Decq (France), Phyllis Lambert (Canada), Harald Szeemann (Switzerland), and Robert M. Wilson (USA), has awarded the prize to the American architect Frank O. Gehry by unanimous vote on April 6, 1998 and justified its decision as follows:
The always perceptible courage for non-ideological solutions and the sensuousness and pleasure conveyed by his buildings make his architectural endeavors works of art that are full of surprises. His structures are complex gifts. Their appearance and their reality result from his choreography of the unpredictable, a dialogue of both calming and destabilizing elements. They are metaphors articulating epiphanies of a ‘correlating’ fantasy able to create emotional and mental spaces constantly searching for new surfaces. And he achieves this with a generosity and a wisdom born out of the fundamental understanding Martha Graham once so pointedly described with the words: “I learn from practicing.” What he does is fresh and appeals to the senses, and it is this very naturalness that is the origin of his ability to transcend boundaries. Frederick Kiesler once said: “Form does not follow function. Function follows vision. Vision follows reality.”
The Austrian Frederick Kiesler Prize 1998 is presented by Dr. Viktor Klima, Austrian Federal Chancellor, Frau Elisabeth Gehrer, Austrian Federal Minister, and Dr. Peter Marboe, Vienna Executive City Councilor for Cultural Affairs on June 2, 1998. The address is delivered by the chair of the jury, architect o. Prof. Hans Hollein.
Frank O. Gehry was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1929, and moved to the USA in 1947. He attended the University of Southern California and studied urban planning at the Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. After working with Victor Gruen in Los Angeles and André Remondet in Paris, he founded the firm Frank O. Gehry and Associates, Inc. in 1962.
By merging new forms and through the unconventional use of new materials and techniques, Frank O. Gehry, one of the most eminent and influential architects on the contemporary international scene, has developed his individual and unmistakable architectural language characterized by the specific relationship between the buildings and their environment. As his frequent cooperation with Richard Serra, Claes Oldenburg, Coosje van Bruggen, and others reveals, Frank O. Gehry not only draws on architecture but also explores the potential of art.
Frank O. Gehry’s œuvre comprises flats, residences, restaurants, shops, libraries, schools, concert halls, office buildings, and museums in Europe, Asia, and the USA.
Among his most prominent buildings are the California Aerospace Museum in Los Angeles (1984), the Vitra Design Museum and Factory in Weil on the Rhine (1989), the Samsung Museum of Modern Art in Seoul, Korea (1994), the American Center in Paris (1994), the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles (1997), and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao (1997).
Frank O. Gehry has been awarded the most renowned architecture and art prizes, e.g. the Pritzker Architecture Prize (1989) and the Wolf Prize in Art (1992).