PROTOTYPING PLATEAU GEHRY_CONNECTIVES : Reading Frank Gehry’s experiments through Deleuze and Guattari

Abstract: This thesis attempts to describe and interpret the design practice of an American architect, Frank O. Gehry through concepts developed by French philosopher Gilles Deleuze and his collaborator, French psychotherapist, philosopher and activist, Félix Guattari. At the same time, prototyping a website-based interactive project called PLATEAU GEHRY_CONNECTIVES, it explores an alternative form for the Doctoral thesis. In addition to connections with visual arts, such as painting and cinema, the experimental project PLATEAU GEHRY_CONNECTIVES includes references to concepts and phenomena from various areas of knowledge revealing distinctive, unusual qualities of Gehry’s creative approach in the production of design artefacts. The thesis documents and discusses means of representation in architectural design fused into the specific creative culture of Frank O. Gehry. It notices that the discourse in architectural theory and practice, often neglects what occurs on a particular molecular level of the architectural design process. It shows that elements of micro-level of design procedures render Gehry’s idiosyncratic design phenomena intelligible and perceptible in a new way. It claims that it has been possible because Deleuze and Guattari’s concepts become perceptibly operational in the interpretation of such phenomena, at the level of elementary units of Gehry’s design procedures. Moreover, through this close-up perspective, the thesis’ investigations identify certain similarities in the operational modes of the architect and the painter. It demonstrates how Gehry, who has anchored his interest in painting, and specifically in what he defined as ‘immediacy in painting,’ was able to transform the practice of architectural drawing from projective to a cognitive one. It also shows, how the architect re-defines the commonly applied projective geometries from passive, arbitrary role to an active agent, and how the architect links drawing practice with the construction process on a new, almost palpable level. While stressing its the manual character, the thesis demonstrates that Gehry’s explorative culture of challenging means of representation employed in architectural design production facilitates the re-disciplining of architecture culminating in the integration of the CATIA system in the design procedures. This study of Gehry’s design actions and strategies can help the reader to understand the significance of experimental and intuitive design practices. The thesis proposes the Deleuzian interpretation of Gehry’s experiments in the aesthetics of design thinking and acting. It renders perceptions of patterns, according to which, other design practices can operate.