Architects Applaud Gehry Creative Genius - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

05/15/03

Architects Applaud Gehry Creative Genius

Local architects say it was quite a coup getting the most famous architect in the world to design the new Ohr-O'Keefe museum.

It helped that Frank Gehry is a collector of George Ohr's pottery.

His planned museum beneath the oaks in Biloxi is certain to attract international attention. 

Biloxi architect, Joey Crain, is assisting the Frank Gehry team on the Ohr-O'Keefe project. The design work for Gehry's "dances among the oaks" museum vision, begins with advanced computer programs.

"It's a 3-D program and it allows us to envision a building. The particular building you're seeing right here is the African American gallery. It's one of five buildings that will be out there," said Crain, as he displayed a computer program.

Frank Gehry's much acclaimed museum in Bilboa, Spain is an architectural wonder. Local architects say that same kind of attention awaits Biloxi.

"I think you're going to see architecture students crawling all over the buildings and photographing them and sketching them. I think it's going to be an international attraction," said David Hardy.

"They work on projects easily ten times this size. We saw models at their Santa Monica studios that you could walk inside," Crain said.

Gehry's work is anything but ordinary. His unique office building in the Czech Republic was dubbed "Fred and Ginger" since the two towers appear to be dancing.

He described his Ohr-O'Keefe plans as "dancing among the oaks".  And Biloxi is ready for the music to begin.

Biloxi architect, Frank Genzer, helped convince Gehry to design the Biloxi museum.

"He's probably the most creative genius as it relates to museums in the world today. And so you really want someone like that. It was a coup for us to be able to attract him to the Mississippi Gulf Coast," said Genzer.

It's a creative coup that will attract lovers of art and architecture to the coast for decades to come.

The live oak trees on the museum property are a valuable part of the Biloxi project. Joey Crain says the team of architects not only has a map of the trees, but also a detailed map of their root systems.

The various galleries will be built around the existing trees.

By Steve Phillips

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