A new book edited by Dr Liisa Naar and Professor Stewart Clegg of UTS Business School traces the trajectory of leading Pritzker architect Frank Gehry’s first Australian project from concept to completion.

Gehry in Sydney: The Dr Chau Chak Wing Building, is a fly-on-the-wall account of the design and building process of the project, with Naar, a designer and a UTS Chancellor’s postdoctoral research fellow, spending hundreds of hours over the three years it took for the building to be completed.

According to Naar, herparticular interest was in the social construction of architecture, specifically the practices around how architect and client relationships evolve and how innovative architects work with clients to convince them to take up their innovative design ideas.

Naar describes the Dr Chau Chak Wing Building, where she now works, as having ‘a sense of humour and a very human scale’. In the course of her research, she was struck by the sense of ‘ownership’ among the contractors on site, especially the bricklayers who faced a really challenging task in creating the brick skin.

The brickwork was constructed by Favetti Bricklayingand its fluid appearance was achieved by corbelling (stepping) individual bricks to articulate the building’s organic shape. Around 320,000 bricks were custom made for the building and laid by hand.

The project team also included executive architects Daryl Jackson, Robin Dyke and construction company Lend Lease.

Clegg, a leading international researcher in management, with an interest in large, complex projects and the built environment, was intrigued by Gehry’s attachment to physical models. Gehry Partners’ prolific production of physical models is considered atypical for architects in these days of 3D computer-aided design.

Published by Images Publishing,Gehry in Sydney is richly illustrated with photos, sketches and plans, and includes interviews with Frank Gehry and Gehry Partners design team members Craig Webb and Brad Winkeljohn.