PRINT Summer 2001

Aformal Affinities

A conceptual building is as likely to be aformal as it is to be formal.”

—Reyner Banham, 1955

“MORE GARBAGE HAS BEEN WRITTEN about [Frank Gehry] than any other architect of his generation,” Reyner Banham noted in 1987, “but all attempts to push him into any known taxonomy—even postmodernist—tend to leave him uncategorised.” Banham himself had tried often enough to place him. In his breakthrough 1971 book Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies, he attempted to assimilate Gehry into the LA Modern tradition, from R. M. Schindler forward, as he saw the Danziger Studio and Residence of 1964–65 both as a stucco box, common enough in the West Coast style, and as a studio of the kind made “modernist” by Europeans like Le Corbusier. In a later article, “Building Inside Out,” published in the New Society in 1987, Banham tried to connect Gehry to a hippie/beat tradition,

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