He didn’t hit his stride till he was 50, and now the architect, as inventive and bold as ever, hangs out with everyone from Harrison Ford to Jay-Z
I’ve taken up flying,” says Frank Gehry, aged 89 years and 11 months, as he sits opposite me in his Los Angeles office, “a little bit.” Then he tells a story. How in his youth he had a job washing aeroplanes, and how his cousin had a Waco biplane and would take him up in it. How he wanted to do this again. How the subject came up when Sydney Pollack was making the 2005 film Sketches of Frank Gehry. How the architect asked the film director, did he know someone who had a Waco?
“Yes, he did – Harrison Ford. And I knew Harrison way, way back, when he was a cabinet maker. He bid for some of our projects.” But Gehry never got to fly with the man who played Han Solo. Then, one evening, he was at a dinner party complaining to Ford on the subject when the host chipped in. He had another make of biplane, a Stearman, and was happy to take Gehry into the sky. He shows a photo as proof. “I can’t land it or anything, but he lets me steer it.”