Many of Frank Gehry’s designs, such as the Guggenheim Bilbao, or the Los Angeles’s Walt Disney Concert Hall, looks like the billowing top sails of a fleet of boats. Now the 86-year-old architect is finally applying the aesthetic where it belongs: to his first ever yacht.
To make sure he came up with a design that could actually float, Gehry worked with Argentine naval architect Germán Frers. “Don’t let me get too crazy,” Gehry reportedly told him. “It has to work.” Built out of traditional larch wood and accented with titanium, it looks modern only in detail, like the webbed planking of the steering wheel, or the elaborate lattice-work glass windows on the deck and the stern. But the profile is still very traditional: a curved crown with a flat, cabinless deck.
Apparently, while this looks natural to us landlubbers, Gehry’s design created a lot of consternation at sea. Town&Country’s Vicky Ward reports on many of the technical difficulties of Gehry’s design, including his insistence on using heavy wood for what is meant to be a racing yacht, and lattice windows which could make the hull weaker.
In fact, according to Ward’s piece, there seems to have been considerable surprise on the part of Gehry and his crew when they dropped it in water and it didn’t immediately sink. She writes: “After joining Gehry in Hyannis Port and going aboard the sloop, Frers, and later [boat builder Steve] White, had the same reaction. ‘It works,’ both men said with considerable relief.”
Despite its unconventional design, it’s apparently a fast little sloop, clocking the fastest time in last summer’s Round the Island race around Martha’s Vineyard. The ship’s name? Foggy, a nickname based on the acronym for Frank Owen Gehry. The ship even features Gehry’s signature on the stern. No one’s ever said Gehry’s bashful about who his number one love is.
Read more about Gehry’s yacht at Town&Country.