Structure Type: built works - exhibition buildings - museums

Designers: Gehry Partners, LLP (firm); Frank Owen Gehry (architect)

Dates: [unspecified]

386 Beach Boulevard
Biloxi, MS 39530

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Los Angeles architect Frank Gehry (b. 1929) designed this museum complex composed of six separate buildings clustered on a four-acre section of Tricentennial Park, on the Gulf of Mexico Coast. The centerpiece of the museum is a four-building gallery housing the work of the eccentric Biloxi potter, George Ohr (1857-1918). Like Ohr's irregular pots, Gehry's buildings had an idiosynchratic presence, nestled amid large live oak trees. Gehry worked with an associated architect, Guild Hardy Architects, of Jackson, MS, a firm begun in 1953. The museum's web site stated of the design: "Set within a grove of ancient Live Oak trees, Frank Gehry designed the Ohr-O’Keefe project as a series of six small pavilions woven among the trees and connected by an open brick plaza, creating an inviting and lively arts campus that maintains the existing park setting and encourages pedestrian circulation throughout the site. The entire project employs a micro-pile foundation system intended to minimize impact on the root systems of the Live Oak trees. The use of local materials, the use of references to the local vernacular, and the scale and placement of each of the pavilions on the site, represent sensitive responses to the conditions of the site and to the context of the surrounding area. The 25,000 square foot Ohr-O’Keefe Museum campus provides facilities for art exhibition and education, and cultural and community events." (See "Campus Architecture,"Accessed 07/18/2011.) Gehry worked and reworked the design over the period 1999-2003. Construction was expected to begin in 2002 and conclude in 2004. Construction actually began in 2004, but the nascent complex was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina on 08/29/2005. Phase I of the reconstruction, including three of the five Gehry buildings and two historic vernacular buildings began in 2008 and concluded in 11/2010. Erection of the City of Biloxi Center for Ceramics would highlight Phase II starting in 2012, which would also see the construction of a residential ceramic studio, meeting rooms, administrative offices, and the John S. and James L. Knight Gallery containing a permanent exhibit of Ohr's work.

Tel: 228.374.5547 (2011);

PCAD id: 2799