Taxidermy, Shotcrete, and the Techno-aesthetic

Alex Maymind



The brief history of shotcrete begins in 1909 with autodidact Carl Akeley, an unlikely inventor given his rural upbringing in upstate New York and lack of formal education.[1] While Akeley is primarily known for his pioneering taxidermy at the turn of the century, he also intermittently worked as a sculptor, biologist, conservationist, and nature photographer. This wide range of preoccupations and interests was crucial to his ability to act as a bricoleur, which ultimately led to the invention of the material that we today call shotcrete and was previously known as gunite.[2] While working in Chicago at the Field Columbian Museum, Akeley was asked to repair the crumbling facade. The story, as retold in an abbreviated form by civil engineer and shotcrete expert Pietro Teichert, is worth recounting in detail:

The Field Columbian Museum was housed in a building that had been erected in 1892 for the World Exhibition in Jackson Park. One day, in the spring of 1907, Akeley was working together with mechanic and modelmaker Clarence L. Dewey in a workshop when museum director Frederick J. V. Skiff came looking for him. Akeley was working on two African elephants, and Dewey was busy painting some imitation rocks for another group under construction. Dewey was using an enlarged atomizer built by Akeley that used compressed air to spray on colored plaster of paris. Skiff began to complain about the awful condition of the museum’s facade because the trustees had been nagging him about it. Suddenly, he said to Akeley, “Ake, why can’t you and Dewey make a big machine like that squirt-gun Dewey is using and paint this old shack with plaster of paris?" [3]

  Figure 1.  Carl Akeley and assistant, at work.

Figure 1. Carl Akeley and assistant, at work.

  Figure 2.  Carl Akeley, shotcrete used in taxidermied elephant.

Figure 2. Carl Akeley, shotcrete used in taxidermied elephant.

Akeley and his assistant set to work on adapting their existing “squirt-gun” to a new material that had more predictable structural and aesthetic properties (Figs. 1 and 2). After a few failed experiments, the two men produced a rudimentary machine called the “plastergun” which forced dry plaster through a hose using compressed air while a secondary hose provided the necessary water to create a viscous mixture that would solidify upon impact.[4] The resulting stacked, double-chamber gun arose from the pressing need to repair an existing building but soon found its way into other non-technical uses that Akeley could not have initially imagined. The serendipitous encounter between the existing “atomizer” and Director Skiff’s impatience for a renovated facade for his dilapidated museum sparked Akeley’s technical acumen and ultimately led to the invention of shotcrete as a bricolage of several distinct mechanical devices and existing technologies (Figs. 3 and 4). While some historical accounts of the development of shotcrete have claimed that Akeley invented the material in order to improve his ongoing taxidermy work (his current occupation and life-long interest), Akeley “was amused by these stories and never bothered to set the record straight." [5]

  Figure 3.    Carl Akeley, Patent Application for “Apparatus for Mixing and Applying Plastic or Adhesive Materials.”

Figure 3. Carl Akeley, Patent Application for “Apparatus for Mixing and Applying Plastic or Adhesive Materials.”

  Figure 4.  George M. Pro, Patent Application for “Discharge Nozzle for Hydrating Cementitious Substances Under Pressure.”

Figure 4. George M. Pro, Patent Application for “Discharge Nozzle for Hydrating Cementitious Substances Under Pressure.”

Years after its original invention and further technical refinement at the encouragement of President Theodore Roosevelt, who saw vast commercial potential in the new invention, shotcrete found its way into increasingly divergent domains, such as the repair of infrastructure, mining, water tanks and silos, swimming pools,  viaducts, pipes and tunnels, agricultural and industrial shelters, outdoor sculpture, landscape ornamentation, stage sets, theme park decor, simulated rock and coral features in gardens, zoos, and aquariums, and numerous industrial applications (Fig. 5).[6] In these various instances, shotcrete behaves as an infrastructural material which is seldom or only obliquely seen; therefore it is a material that is often out of sight, tucked away, or covered up by a cosmetic surface that is meant to mask its character. The aesthetics of shotcrete are often a byproduct of its near invisibility and its freeform plasticity. In other words, the aesthetics of the material are defined through its pragmatism and its technical capacities as opposed to an overt formal agenda or material sensibility.[7] Rather than necessitate traditional formwork, which could be standardized through a detail assembly and managerial process, shotcrete requires a flexible meshwork substrate as material support that requires a high degree of labor and local specificity. In this sense, no two shotcrete surfaces are exactly identical or repeatable. Shotcrete’s appearance as artificial rock formations and large animal sculptures at metropolitan zoos was particularly notable.[8] The difference between Akeley’s own taxidermy, which was preoccupied with capturing the scientifically-accurate likeness of an animal in motion–alive but frozen in time–and these later uses to produce “sculptures” hints at the way in which the same technology could produce very different aesthetic results based on radically divergent intentions. While not attributable to any single specific source, the mythologized origin story of shotcrete was entirely logical as the complexity and topology of a taxidermic animal skin would prove to be a prescient myth about the latent possibilities inherent in the new material.[9]

  Figure 5.  Shotcrete-stabilized cliff in New Zealand.

Figure 5. Shotcrete-stabilized cliff in New Zealand.

“Radical” Dwellings

Around 1950, two significant changes occurred in the development of shotcrete. First was the development of rotor machines, which were more powerful and easier to use. Secondly, test data and quality assurance procedures that had developed between 1910 and 1930 faded away after decades of global expansion of the shotcrete industry.[10] As a result of these changes, shotcrete became more readily available to non-industrial users, in particular architects who sought a freeform material that appeared to have no tangible constraints; a material which seemed to promise a possibility of unbridled creativity. A number of eccentric architects, such as Jean-Louis Chanéac, Peter Vestch, Antti Lovag, and Ant Farm, among others, capitalized on the plasticity of shotcrete as an unconventional construction technique in small-scale residential projects, built for wealthy clients on remote sites, or for the architects’ own experimental homes, in some cases, built without building permits or proper legal status as such.[11] The newfound availability of the rotor, its ease of use, and the cheapness of the material itself produced a confluence of factors which made these experiments, both high and low, possible. (Figs. 6 and 7)

  Figure 6.  Antti Lovag, Bubble House.

Figure 6. Antti Lovag, Bubble House.

  Figure 7.  Pascal Hausermann.

Figure 7. Pascal Hausermann.

Throughout the short history of shotcrete, two distinct lines of development have repeatedly been drawn as sharply contrasting ideologies. The first has to do with those architects interested in returning to a mode of handicraft, as exemplified by the “radical” moniker. These radical architects worked directly with the built artifact in a similar manner to that of a traditional sculptor who engages his final work through a process of carving or calculated subtraction from a monolithic material such as stone. In these instances, perhaps best exemplified by Hungarian architect Antti Lovag, the architect is both manager and sculptor. In Lovag’s work, shotcrete was applied to a wire mesh framework or other flexible substrate that could be carefully sculpted in order to achieve the desired results. This hands-on approach sought to capitalize on shotcrete’s capacity as a formless, entropic material that could be highly manipulated according to laborious means or a specific aesthetic demands.

While the disparate motives behind this eclectic collection of architects/ experimenters cannot be united along a single ideological vector, it is possible to observe a distinct formal similarity in the results: the repeated appearance of the spheroid or clustering of spherical forms as an architectural massing strategy for the form of a dwelling. While these architects did not directly claim that the ability of shotcrete to manage and sculpt interior volume inherently privileged spherical, aedicular forms, the continuous three-dimensionally curving surfaces could more easily be constructed in this way than the vast majority of other building technologies and techniques. However, the informal language of these spherical forms is not necessarily intrinsic to the material properties of shotcrete. Furthermore, because shotcrete is dull in color and texture–it is not entirely smooth unless covered in plaster or some other weatherproofing–the work of Chanéac, Lovag, and others often was rough and unfinished according to our own contemporary standards of polish. A common thread between these architects is a consistent reliance on various organic metaphors such as domes, caves, shells, and bubbles to describe their ambitions to produce spheroid forms. The repeated use of these metaphors also signals a return to handicraft rather than an interest in technological refinement.

The whiggish history of these radical objects would claim that they were made possible precisely because of technological advances of shotcrete; more specifically the systems of control and precision improved by the rotor and other related advances. The built work actually points to an alternate conclusion; these experimenters often had to resort to extreme methods to produce the formlessness they envisioned. For instance, Lovag’s process of on-site construction involved rolling large mesh wire balls around the site until he was satisfied with the overall massing. After doing so, he would spray shotcrete around a series of large helium balloons to create the dome forms. The exact air pressure and surface tension of these balloons along with a host of other technical problems created a novel shotcrete application and a conscious imperfectionism. In other words, architects like Lovag chose to forgo conventional methods of drawing and construction to work directly with the building firsthand. More importantly, these architects that used shotcrete for radical dwellings have tended to use shotcrete as a technical material in a non-technical way. (Fig. 8)

  Figure 8.  Antti Lovag, Abandoned experimental sphere.

Figure 8. Antti Lovag, Abandoned experimental sphere.

The use of shotcrete also exemplifies an unanalyzability that is evidence of a desire to go beyond canonical categories of composition and analysis. Without a clear part-to-whole relationship or legible ordering system, these dwellings developed as a series of concatenated pieces strung together like beads on a string or loosely grouped in families or clusters. The resulting enfilade or network of rooms harkens back to a primitivistic total-interior space akin to a cave or bunker. In contrast to the latent futurity of plastic or the industrial standardization of more conventional tectonic materials like steel or wood, the amorphic tendency of shotcrete was crucial to achieving these spheroid, asymmetrical forms. Secondly, in contrast to the teleology of modern industrialization (in which the character of a material is diminished as a result of its inevitable standardization), in these examples character was actually returned and in some cases, wholly fabricated through the use of shotcrete and a direct engagement with processes of building. (Fig. 9)

  Figure 9.  Antti Lovag, Bubble House.

Figure 9. Antti Lovag, Bubble House.

The second tendency, exemplified by Frank Gehry’s work, in particular the Experience Music Project, mobilized shotcrete as a technical readymade and as an infrastructural material. At first glance, Gehry and architects such as Lovag seem to have little in common. Despite obvious differences between the two, they each mobilized the plasticity of shotcrete towards a distinct end. While Gehry relies on the tactility of the physical model as a primary design tool, Lovag worked directly on the full-scale building. Despite the difference in scale, the two motives share an underlying concern with the “speed, freshness, and energy of the freehand gesture” that is made possible through the use of shotcrete.[12]



By now, the narrative of Gehry’s rise to success is as well known as the work itself, if not more so.[13] According to Beatriz Colomina, “practically everything that has been written about Gehry ... can be traced back back to apparently casual, off-the-cuff statements repeated by him over the course of the years.”[14] Rather than rely on these statements, an examination of Gehry can instead begin with one specific building, the Experience Music Project, interrogated through the lens of shotcrete. Looking at Gehry through this alternate lens, allows us to ask: what does shotcrete tell us about Gehry that we don’t already know? And what does Gehry tell us about the modernity and material history of shotcrete?


After several decades of commercial work mostly in Los Angeles and Southern California, followed by an experimental renovation of a small bungalow for his family in Santa Monica, Gehry’s circuitous path to global success can only retrospectively be traced as linear. In his own words, repeated time and time again in interviews and documentaries, the development of his work was rather simply “something that happened.” Gehry, the media architect, has been examined endlessly; no stone seems left unturned. Originally known for his low-key demeanor, “aw, shucks” attitude, and budding friendship with the LA community of artists, he has slowly transformed into a worldwide icon operating at the upper echelons of architectural fame for institutional, multinational corporations and clients. Popular documentary videos focus on his lively hands in motion, journalists and essayists recount his numerous hardships as a young man growing up in downtown Los Angeles, and countless architects of several generations that have worked under his tutelage invoke the impact of Gehry’s creative freedom on their own working methods to this day. The sum total of these studies of Gehry constructs, willingly or unwillingly, an inescapable mythology of our “greatest living artist.”[15]


Yet, despite the plethora of these efforts, close attention to his buildings is not as ubiquitous as one might imagine. Instead, his career arc has been neatly packaged into a sequence of innovations, risks, and intuitive leaps of faith. While earlier in Gehry’s career, there was an indissoluble link between his “hands-on approach” to infrastructural material such as chain-link fence, unfinished corrugated metal, low-grade plywood, etc. and the industrial gritty context of Los Angeles, the last twenty years of globalization have rendered this once-crucial connection much more tentative, if not suspect to begin with. More importantly, the technical and aesthetic aspects of his work are often set into contradistinction with one another. This, too, is in direct contrast with his early period of experimentation, which attempted to muddy the distinction between design and making by engaging materials directly. This division between the technical and aesthetic has much to do with the increase in scale and complexity of the later work, but primarily has its origins in the introduction of the computer at Gehry’s office.


Adulatory praise of Gehry’s projects has casually positioned the formal expression of sculptural language as an intuitive result of the artist’s creative capacities, often describing the work as “haphazard,” “spontaneous,” “expressive,” “gestural” and so on, while the achievements of building, management, and construction are seen as a byproduct of James Glymph’s ingenious digital wherewithal. Numerous projects are often represented through a startlingly repetitive narrative: Gehry’s freehand ballpoint pen sketch leads to a sequence of large physical models, which, once digitized and rationalized according to a series of variables, constraints, and inputs, produce documents and fabrication specifications for the construction and contractors. The whiggish history of Gehry’s work, of which there are many, attempts to account for the technological impact of materials (such as shotcrete) and computer software (such as CATIA) as tools for “catching the curve, not for inventing it.”[16] These innovations are repeatedly described as amplifying Gehry’s creativity as opposed to fundamentally altering his process. Glymph, in particular, has repeated this fact by noting that the advanced computing technology he has pioneered has not fundamentally changed the way Gehry works but has rather given him more precision and control over the sculptural forms that were previously intuitive and therefore unbuildable.[17] In this way, Gehry’s author function is safeguarded. Even the structure of the design process at Gehry’s office, as carefully orchestrated by Glymph and Dennis Shelden, technological and managerial experts respectively, ensures that creative autonomy, from the first hand-drawn gestural sketch to the completed building, is preserved as much as possible. More importantly, the use of advanced software (and its related expeditious fabrication technologies) allows for a high degree of verisimilitude to the artistic intentions of the physical model, the native home of gesture and expression. In short, Gehry’s work operates on a model of creativity that, while highly advanced in its technical processes of execution, “does not beg any fundamental questions for art.”


Allusions to Gehry’s mastery abound. Mastery over sculptural form, over materials, and over economic, constructional, and tectonic limits of those materials, are dominant themes in the large corpus of literature on Gehry’s work. Numerous analogies have been drawn to the historical gravity of Michelangelo’s documented obsessive-compulsive secrecy or Bernini’s lifelong interest in capturing the intricate folds of velvet in hard stone.[19] It is safe to say that Gehry’s body of work has assumed canonical status as the comparable artist of our own time. The years of dedication and diligence, the hands-on approach to industrial and unlikely materials, and the obsession with the possibilities of sculptural form are typically seen as unproblematic evidence of Gehry’s genius.[20] Gehry’s use of shotcrete in only several buildings problematizes this popular narrative that so often accompanies his work. As we shall see, the industrial and infrastructural aesthetic of shotcrete also complicates the division between technical determinants and aesthetic intentions.


Experience Music Project

“I don’t think there will be a building like Experience Music Project again....”[21]

The Experience Music Project, completed in 1999, is the brainchild of philanthropist Paul Allen, former Microsoft CEO. The museum is dedicated to the history of popular music, and is made up of six warehouse-like spaces, each filled with artifacts, exhibits, and memorabilia. Allen, who reportedly wanted a “swoopy” building, envisaged Gehry’s sculptural style as an intuitive expression of the energy and vitality of the rock music artifacts within.[22] Interestingly, while Allen was not incorrect to make this association between exotic form and the rough-and-tumble culture of the music industry, Gehry himself admitted to knowing little to nothing about rock music and its history before receiving the commission. According to J. Fiano Ragheb, the E.M.P. was notable for the way in which “rock and roll’s subversion potential has been recuperated for consumption by the mainstream, neutralized for perpetuity in a museum, and repackaged in a building that has become the most arresting part of the show.”[23] At a total cost of $240 million, the E.M.P. is one of few buildings by Gehry to date that features shotcrete as a dominant part of its construction assembly. While Bilbao was constructed from ruled surfaces that forced the exterior titanium panels to slightly deform in order to fit, E.M.P.’s constantly changing curvature necessitated shotcrete to bridge between a series of parallel structural steel ribs, producing a billowing, cloth-like exterior surface. Unlike Bilbao’s tight-budget exterior envelope, which depended on the titanium panels being repeatable yet indiscernible as such, E.M.P. relies on absolute difference.[24] According to engineer Jon Magnusson:

after exploring many different structural concepts, close examination of Gehry’s vision revealed an almost “organic” formation, with each of the six building elements having an axis and orientation resembling “spines.” .... The solution has been found in an approach utilizing continuously curving ribs and a skin.


The structural system of E.M.P. has been described as one of “the most complex forms ever constructed.”[26] Technical details further illuminate that complexity is largely defined by the extreme degree of difficulty in construction, coordination, and control. The structural system alone consists of 240 individually-curving steel beams, covered by mesh and a 5” layer of shotcrete over welded wire fabric.[27] The shotcrete is coated with a waterproofing membrane, and an elaborate system of 5” diameter steel pedestals that support 3,000 metal panels (each roughly one meter square and individually fabricated) comprised of 21,000 individually shaped shingles.[28] Due to the limited structural capacity of the shotcrete mesh, the steel ribs were placed every ten feet; an usually limited span for such a large steel structure. The “steel-stiffened concrete shell” is said to be the first application to an entire building of the ribbed construction of airplanes and boats.[29] In addition to the entirely digital set of documents, a number of other aspects of the execution borrowed from other existing technologies, including bridge technology and girder fabrication methods, unibody construction used in the automobile industry, and an adaptation of shotcrete techniques used in rock formations from zoo displays. (Figs. 10 and 11)

  Figure 10.  Gehry Partners, E.M.P., Under construction.

Figure 10. Gehry Partners, E.M.P., Under construction.

  Figure 11.  Gehry Partners, E.M.P., Interior.

Figure 11. Gehry Partners, E.M.P., Interior.


“Plain Plastered Cube”

Gehry’s use of shotcrete began as early as 1964, approximately thirty-five years before the design of the E.M.P. As one of his first built projects in Los Angeles, the Danziger Studio and Residence is a telling precursor to the deployment and technology transfer of infrastructural materials into an architectural domain. The Danziger studio was composed of three large boxes each coated in a raw stucco exterior that accumulated dirt and dust from the street. In Reyner Banham’s description of the project in Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies, he describes the stuccoed box, or the “plain plastered cube,” as an attempt to address a rough industrial context through material emulation.[30] Gehry, too, retrospectively explained the Danziger project as one of the first instances in which he borrowed an infrastructural material that he had noticed was typically used underneath freeways and highway underpasses:  

I loved raw rough stucco. No buildings were being done with that. They call it “tunnel mix.” It was underneath freeways. Under the freeways they’d spray it on. So I asked the plastering contractor to do it, and they said they couldn’t; they didn’t know how. An artist friend was building a little studio in Venice. I told him what I was looking for. He said it sounded great, and if I wanted to use his garage to experiment on, he wouldn’t mind. I found what the equipment for tunnel mix was. I went to the U-Haul and rented it, mixed the plaster, and did it myself. I sprayed it on the garage, and it was beautiful! Then I brought the contractor down, showed him the equipment, showed him the walls, and that’s how the Danziger building was made.[31]

Gehry’s use of the raw rough stucco initiated a process of technical materials deployed for aesthetic or non-technical effects. While underneath the freeway, the raw stucco retains its grayish color despite exposure to endless amounts of dirt and grime from traffic and pollution, as an exterior surface for an artist’s studio in Hollywood, the gritty texture of the stucco produced a building which was intended to be abstract and symbolically empty, but was also surprisingly imageable by virtue of its blankness and austerity. In contrast to the visual noise and signage of the boulevard, replete with loud gas stations, greasy mechanics, and dingy mom-and-pop shops, Gehry’s stuccoed trio of boxes not only decontextualized an infrastructural material but created a material détourné. As noted by Thomas Hines, this was the not first time that a material experienced subliminally would reappear in Gehry’s work. As a young man, Gehry served as a private for two years in the U.S. Army where his role included designing furniture and other small buildings. Reflecting on this experience, Hines opined that the “Fort Benning landscapes of ‘temporary’ structures of corrugated metal, plywood and asphalt shingles .... were to reappear subliminally in a new incarnation in Gehry’s work of the 1970s.”[32] In a similar fashion, Gehry’s relationship to corrugated metal paneling, a material that he was first introduced to while in the Army and that he would continually return to later, was deployed in order to find ways of “getting more” from an inexpensive, overlooked material. When considering his use of corrugated metal in the Ron Davis studio from 1972, he explained that his interest in very cheap materials emerged from his work with shopping-mall architect Victor Gruen:

working with developers, seeing them always trying to make thing cheaper, I was intrigued with the idea of making something inexpensive and getting more out of it. The materials didn’t matter; what mattered was the concept and the feeling of the building that could be made with inexpensive materials.[33]

The choice to reanimate an infrastructural material at Danziger (and other projects as well) required Gehry to “do it himself” as opposed to rely on existing protocol or the contractor’s risk-averse procedures. Gehry’s anecdote reveals that the choice to investigate, test, and then use “tunnel mix” was as imperative as the design of the building itself.


(Animal) Skin

“American architecture is the art of covering one thing with another thing to imitate a third thing, which, if genuine, would not be desirable.” - Leopold Edilitz[34]

The steel-stiffened concrete shell of the E.M.P. is clad by a colorful array of 21,000 individually shaped metal shingles on the exterior, creating a kaleidoscopic and dizzying effect from all angles. Within the building, the raw shotcrete surface is largely left exposed and visible, resulting in a space that appears unfinished or in-progress, especially when viewed in contrast to even more metal shingles that have found their way inside the building through folds and turns of the exterior envelope. The repetitive steel ribs establish a sense of rhythm in an interior which is otherwise cacophonous and full of objects large and small competing for the occupant’s attention. The shotcrete surface, while at a much larger scale than an animal like an elephant, can be analogized to Akeley’s interest in the hyper-realist appearance of his taxidermy work.[35] However, while Akeley was primarily interested in perfecting taxidermic techniques in order to better approximate the wonders of nature, taking stock of musculature, realistic posture, and surface textures, Gehry’s sculptural tendencies can be said to have originated in the details of:

fluid fabrics found in sculptures made by Burgundian artist Claus Sluter in the fourteenth century. Gehry had long been impressed by Sluter’s ability to convey the pliant forms of cloth in stone, as in the hoods of monks crying over the sarcophagus of Philip the Bold in Dijon.

Nonetheless, Gehry’s engagement with sculptural surfaces (and the spaces created within the topological shells they form) is not far removed from Akeley’s taxidermy. As described above by Edilitz, E.M.P.’s spectacular skin attempts to add yet another layer of complexity to the continually-curving topological surface of the shotcrete. The fabrics sculpted out of stone by Sluter, the animal skins carefully choreographed by Akeley, and the shotcrete surface of Gehry each must accordingly and expertly manipulate a mute material substrate to animate a sense of movement and vitality which is completely artificial to the material at hand. (Fig. 12)

  Figure 12.  Gehry Partners, E.M.P., Steel details, screenshot.

Figure 12. Gehry Partners, E.M.P., Steel details, screenshot.

What Does Shotcrete Want?

Shotcrete has made relatively few appearances within the canon of modern architectural history. It would be safe to say that the material has been primarily regarded as a technical substrate, occasionally mobilized in the hands of a strong author like Gehry, but otherwise is found in anonymous settings, such as suburban backyard swimming pools and under freeway interchanges. Rather than understand shotcrete as simply a technical innovation or a means towards a freeform aesthetic, it must be understood as reciprocally both. If Louis Kahn was able to read the inherent desire of a brick to be an arch–as the proverbial saying goes–then we should also ask: what does shotcrete want?[37] Given the diversity of its appearances, uses, and applications, shotcrete wants whatever you ask of it. While shotcrete is both technical and aesthetic to varying degrees depending on its usage as saw above, it is also an unlikely example of the notion of the techno-aesthetic, as described by philosopher of technology Gilbert Simondon. According to Simondon, the techno-aesthetic is an intercategorial fusion where an object is “technical because its aesthetic, and aesthetic because its technical.”[38] Unlike a more conventional material with a defined, teleological historical trajectory, the modernity of shotcrete is defined by its lack of desire, its operativity, rather than an a priori aesthetic agenda or formal propensity. It is this non-metaphysical materiality that makes shotcrete an example of Simondon’s notion of the techno-aesthetic. In this sense, perhaps Gehry is our contemporary Carl Akeley, and less so, our contemporary Michelangelo.

  Figure 13.  Gehry Partners, E.M.P., Under construction.

Figure 13. Gehry Partners, E.M.P., Under construction.

[1] Carl Akeley, In Brightest Africa (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, Page and Co., 1924).
Pietro Teichert, “Carl Akeley - A Tribute to the Founder of Shotcrete. Shotcrete Magazine (June 2002), 10-12.
Teichert, 11.
Ibid, 12.
Ibid, 12.
George D. Yoggy, “The History of Shotcrete: Part I & II.” Shotcrete Magazine. (Fall 2001, Spring 2001).
Given that shotcrete undergoes placement and compaction at the same time due to the projected force generated by the nozzle, it can be used on any type or shape of surface, including vertical or overhead areas.
As described in: C. L.  Dewey, “My Friend Ake,” Nature Magazine, (December, 1927).
[9] The term “shotcrete” came later after wet-mix technologies replaced the then-dominant dry-mix gunite.
George D. Yoggy, “The History of Shotcrete: Part III,” Shotcrete Magazine (Winter, 2002).
Alan Hess, Organic Architecture: the Other Modernism (Salt Lake City, Utah: Gibbs Smith, 2006).
William Mitchell, “Roll Over Euclid: How Frank Gehry Designs and Builds” in: Frank Gehry, Architect. (New York: Guggenheim Museum Publications), 357.
Beatriz Colomina, “The House That Built Gehry,” in: Frank Gehry, Architect. (New York: Guggenheim Museum Publications), 301- 319.
Ibid, 301.
It is interesting to note that Gehry was one of the first architects to hire a publicist.
Michael Sorkin, “Frozen Light.” in: Gehry Talks: Architecture + Process. Mildred Friedman, Editor. With Michael Sorkin and Commentaries by Frank O. Gehry. (New York: Universe Publishing, 2002), 32.
Mildred Friedman, Editor. Gehry Talks: Architecture + Process. With Michael Sorkin and Commentaries by Frank O. Gehry. (New York: Universe Publishing, 2002), 45.
Ibid, Sorkin.
Giulio Carlo Argan and Bruno Contardi, Michelangelo. (London: Phaidon, 2004).
Hal Foster, Design and Crime. (London: Verso, 2002).
Promotional video for E.M.P. Accessed online. (12 June 2014).
Frank Gehry, “Frozen Light.” In: Gehry Talks: Architecture + Process. Mildred Friedman, Editor. With Michael Sorkin and Commentaries by Frank O. Gehry. (New York: Universe Publishing, 2002), 194.
J. Fiano Ragheb, “Sites of Passage.” In: Frank Gehry, Architect (New York: Guggenheim Museum Publications), 348.
Jon D. Magnussen, “Experience Music Project.” Modern Steel Construction Magazine, (June 2001).
Ibid, Magnussen.
[26]  Kazys Varnelis, “Hallucination in Seattle,” Pasajes de Arquitectura y Critica, (June 2001). Accessed online: (11 June 2014).
Ibid, Magnussen.
Ibid, Magnussen.
[29] An elaborate CATIA model and full-scale mockups were required to analyze, test, and ensure that the building could be constructed as designed. Ibid, Magnussen.
Reyner Banham, Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies. (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2001), 179.
Frank Gehry, in: Gehry Talks: Architecture + Process. Mildred Friedman, Editor. With Michael Sorkin and Commentaries by Frank O. Gehry, (New York: Universe Publishing, 2002), 45.
Thomas Hines, “Heavy Metal: The Education of F.O.G.” In: The Architecture of Frank Gehry. (New York: Rizzoli, 1986), 17.
Commentary by Frank Gehry, In: The Architecture of Frank Gehry. (New York: Rizzoli, 1986), 21.
Frank Gehry: Buildings and Projects. Compiled and Edited by Peter Arnell and Ted Bickford. Text by Mason Andrews. (New York: Rizzoli, 1985), 128.
One Akeley’s most celebrated pieces includes a duo of charging elephants nearly tripping over each other, tusks and limbs askew.
Michael Sorkin, “Frozen Light.” In: Gehry Talks: Architecture + Process. Mildred Friedman, Editor. With Michael Sorkin and Commentaries by Frank O. Gehry. (New York: Universe Publishing, 2002), 32.
Louis Kahn. Louis I. Kahn: Conversations with Students. (Houston: Rice University School of Architecture, 1998). Also see Mark Rakatansky’s essay “Tectonic Acts of Desire and Doubt: What Kahn Wants to Be” in Tectonic Acts of Desire and Doubt (London: AA Publications, 2012), 28-71.
Gilbert Simondon, translated by Arne De Boever. “On Techno-Aesthetics.” Parrhesia (Number 14, 2012), 1-8.

Alex Maymind is a Los Angeles-based designer and teacher currently pursuing a PhD in history and theory of architecture at the University of California, Los Angeles. He holds an
M. Arch from Yale University School of Architecture, and a B.S in Architecture from Ohio State University’s Knowlton School of Architecture. Previously, he was the 2012–13 Walter B. Sanders Fellow at the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, and taught at Cornell University in both Ithaca and New York City. His writing, ranging from a genealogy of the free section to an exploration of globalization’s clichés, has appeared in a number of journals including LogPidginThresholdsOfframpDimensions, and Clog. Most recently, he published Revisiting Revisiting as part of the Graham Foundation’s “Treatise: Why Write Alone?” series. 
Alex Maymind