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Archive of Canadian-born architect Frank Gehry gets home in Los Angeles

In this Oct. 23, 2003, file photo, building architect Frank Gehry takes the pose of a symphony conductor as he arrives for a grand opening concert gala at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.

Kevork Djansezian/AP

A massive archive containing papers, drawings and models of work by Canadian-born, world-renowned architect Frank Gehry is getting a home in his adopted hometown.

The Getty Research Institute announced Tuesday that it has hundreds of thousands of sketches, drawings, models, photographs, slides and paperwork involving 283 projects that Gehry designed between 1954 and 1988.

They include documents about Gehry's famous Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles, a bouquet of shiny, curved metal blocks that was completed in 2003.

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Gehry "contributed to the essential concepts which put Los Angeles and its particular architectural vision at the centre of the global architectural discourse," said Maristella Casciato, senior curator of architectural collections at the Getty Research Institute.

The Frank Gehry Papers archive covers a period ranging from Gehry's early graduate studies at the University of Southern California to his winning 1988 entry in the Disney concert hall competition.

"It's hard to look at your work and to try to dictate what people will take away from it...for me these models and drawings represent a lot of work; a lot of trial and error; and a lot of my heart and soul," Gehry said in an email to the Los Angeles Times ( "I guess my hope is for people to find some inspiration in all these efforts."

The archive includes 1,000 sketches, more than 120,000 working drawings, more than 100,000 slides, hundreds of boxes of office records, personal papers, and correspondence, 168 working models, and 112 presentation models, according to a press release from the institute.

There also are digital files for some projects.

Some material was purchased and some was donated, the Getty Research Institute said.

The Toronto-born Gehry moved to Los Angeles in 1947 and opened an architectural practice there in 1962.

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His style has been characterized by the use of chain-link fencing and metal cladding and by forms that twist the traditional rectangular structure of buildings or flow and curve in non-linear shapes.

His most famous works included the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain; the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris, the Vitra Design Museum in Germany and his own home in Santa Monica.

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