Architecture

Frank Gehry twists steel into Vincent van Gogh-inspired tower

Frank Gehry twists steel into ...
The Luma Arles tower's facade features 11,000 individual stainless steel panels
The Luma Arles tower's facade features 11,000 individual stainless steel panels
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The Luma Arles tower rises to a height of 56 m (183 ft)
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The Luma Arles tower rises to a height of 56 m (183 ft)
The Luma Arles tower's facade features 11,000 individual stainless steel panels
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The Luma Arles tower's facade features 11,000 individual stainless steel panels
The Luma Arles tower is part of a larger creative campus in Arles' Parc des Ateliers that previously served as a railway station and the project also involved the renovation of four disused railway buildings
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The Luma Arles tower is part of a larger creative campus in Arles' Parc des Ateliers that previously served as a railway station and the project also involved the renovation of four disused railway buildings
The Luma Arles tower is expected to open to the public on June 26, 2021
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The Luma Arles tower is expected to open to the public on June 26, 2021
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Influential architect Frank Gehry has developed a distinctive style over the decades, with his love of asymmetry and irregular forms giving rise to unusual projects like the brown paper bag. This continues with an almost-complete steel-clad tower that's inspired by local geology, Roman architecture, and a Vincent van Gogh painting.

The Luma Arles tower is located in Arles, France, and was commissioned by nonprofit Luma Foundation. It's part of a larger 27 acre (10 hectare) creative campus that was previously used as a railway depot. Selldorf Architects also renovated four nearby rail structures, of which there are seven in total on the site, while landscaping duties, including a public park, were handled by Bas Smet.

The tower itself rests on top of a cylindrical glazed podium and rises to a modest height of 56 m (183 ft), and is defined by it steel facade, which is clad in 11,000 individual stainless steel panels, with windows pushing out at various points.

The interior contains a total floorspace of 15,000 sq m (161,460 sq ft) and will host research facilities, workshops, seminar rooms, and artist studios, as well as displaying fine art. Art was also clearly an inspiration for Gehry during the design process.

The Luma Arles tower rises to a height of 56 m (183 ft)
The Luma Arles tower rises to a height of 56 m (183 ft)

"We wanted to evoke the local, from Van Gogh's 'Starry Night' to the soaring rock clusters you find in the region," says Gehry in a press release. "Its central drum echoes the plan of the Roman amphitheater."

Further details, as well as interior shots, are not yet available. However, the Luma Arles center, including the tower, is expected to open to the public on June 26, 2021, assuming no new local COVID-19 restrictions come into place.

Source: Luma Arles

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8 comments
8 comments
paul314
The first picture bears a very vague resemblance to a man's head missing an ear.
ArdisLille
"Man's Head, Missing Ear" has a nice ring to it, paul314.
Rustgecko
Clever. If only it didn't look so horrible it would be a great idea.
ChairmanLMAO
Haha I love it. The ear missing is the first thing I thought of too. Great job putting it into a sentence!
McDesign
When will he learn to integrate windows? Until he can do something as basic to the job as that, he's just an oddity.
andrew
I'm usually kind of iffy on Gehry's work but I like this a lot...
Jinpa
How did he get that monstrosity past the local planning and aesthetics boards? Ugmo!
Buzzclick
Van Gogh's Starry Night...local rock clusters...Roman Amphitheater? Really?
More like Picasso's cubist works.
It certainly stands out, and not so much in a good way. I would call his style "Disturbed" architecture. A window washer's nightmare.