Frank Gehry responds to our post on Jerusalem museum


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Frank Gehry called last night with a few responses to a Culture Monster item we posted Tuesday on newly unveiled plans for the Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem -- a project Gehry was originally slated to design before clashing with officials from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which is developing the museum, over budgets and other issues.

More than anything, he said, he wanted to clarify that while the projected cost for his version of the museum promised, as we noted, to be twice as high as the new one, at nearly $250 million, it was for a simple reason: ‘Because mine was twice as big. People are always complaining that my work is too expensive.’


Gehry added that he also produced a design for a smaller version for the museum -- one closer to the 150,000-square-foot proposal released Tuesday -- but that ultimately he and the Wiesenthal Center couldn’t see eye to eye. ‘I’m glad I got out of it,’ he said. The project has been dogged by controversy since it became known that its site covers part of a former Muslim cemetery.

About the new design, by Israeli firm Chyutin Architects, Gehry sounded, at best, ambivalent, comparing it to a ‘giant glass modernist boomerang.’

‘I don’t know,’ he said. ‘Maybe it’ll look OK.’

-- Christopher Hawthorne