El Pez/ The Olympic Fish, by Frank Gehry

El Pez/ The Olympic Fish, by Frank Gehry

Nicholas Socrates

2008

Shimmering in the sunlight,

This organic wave like form,

whilst walking along the beach or promenade, gives the view of the sky line a great sense of relief, especially from the two sky scrappers.

This fish is very pleasant to look at.

As you come off the beach into its immediate surrounding – in line with it – you can see through it

You can look into the fish

To see inside it and see through it

It really is a lot less solid than it appears from a distance – from the beach

It’s like looking at a tree close up;

Everything behind it is factually abstracted.

This jelly-fish like form is so pleasing.

with full turgidity, this is a very healthy fish.

Its colour is so warm, and it makes me smile.

It is so light:

it is just floating there, hovering, about to fly off and jump into the water.

This fish is perfect.

With such a strong structure,

This fish, out of water, is tied to the city.

He is content to be here as a public sceptical, however;

he longs and dreams of returning to the Ocean.

and one day he will. And

he knows himself that he will.

This fish exists here beautifully.

In 1989 Architect Frank Gehry began his monumental fish sculpture for the Olympic Village for the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.

Ever since childhood Gehry had a fascination about the movement of fish

The movement of fish had remained a vivid image in his mind. Gehry had an intense interest in movement – studying it and trying to incorporate a sense of movement into static, or immobile, materials.

The Olympics fish sculpture marked a turning point in the history of Frank O Gehry & Associates. For the first time, the firm used a computer-aided design and manufacturing program in their work. The firm adopted computer aided three – dimensional interactive application (CATIA). Without this, some of Gehry’s most exiting buildings could not have been possible.

Although Gehry designs using sketches and physical models, the computer can check those designs before construction. The computer simplifies the construction process.

For years, Frank Gehry has been concerned with fish imagery. Here, his fish fixation is manifested by a 35 metre x 54 metre fish made of steel lattice. The fish marks the start of the Olympic Port area and is placed at the base of two landmark towers.

One of the towers is the Hotel Arts, the work of the architects Bruce Graham and Gehry himself, with 44 floors and 456 bedrooms; the other is the Mapfre Tower, designed by Ortiz and Enrique de Leon, an office building with a commercial centre on the ground floor. These two towers have a height of 153.5 m and are the highest in Spain

As an artwork this fish grabs the eye for its scale and as its copper colour shining in the bright sunlight.

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