Philip Johnson

Frank Gehry's new jewel-box concert hall in the heart of Berlin

Frank Gehry's new jewel-box concert hall in the heart of Berlin

Frank Gehry once heard fellow architect Philip Johnson say that the purest form of exploration in their profession, their version of a blank canvas or a single sheet of paper, was the one-room building. To back up the theory, he cited Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia, France’s Chartres Cathedral and — modesty never being Johnson’s strong suit — his own 1949 Glass House in New Canaan, Conn.

Gehry took the idea to heart, designing a series of houses that were miniature villages in which each room became, in essence, its own structure. But he’s never had a chance to explore the potential of single-room architecture quite as directly as in Pierre Boulez Hall in Berlin, which...

60°