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A Look Back at Gehry's Unlamented Childhood Home

[Photo via 12degrees]

Considering Frank Gehry's extreme modernist architectural style, it's kind of fascinating to consider the unsophisticated Toronto house he grew up in, at 15 Beverley Street. When little Ephraim Goldberg (Gehry's birth name) was born in 1929, Beverley Street was quiet and tree-lined; just down the block, Queen Street West was just as busy 85 years ago as it is today (albeit with no cannabis shops or condom shacks). Gehry's grandfather Sam Caplan owned a hardware store on Queen Street, and his grandmother Lillian would take young Ephraim shopping with her at Kensington Market (Gehry has said that the live carp Lillian kept in the house's bathtub were the inspiration for the silvery cladding on many of his buildings, and for many of his sculptures).

Unfortunately for a lot of preservationists, the little row house on Beverley wasn't deemed archaelogically-significant enough to preserve, and it was demolished in 2010 to make way for the 12 Degrees condominiums. In case you thought he was crying in his champagne, though, Gehry himself was totally indifferent to the demolition. His only objection, according to a 2010 article in the Globe and Mail, was to the building that was eventually built on the site:
I hope they don't put a plaque in the lobby that says I lived there," he said. "I would be insulted by that. Who wants a plaque with your name on it in some shitty-looking lobby? · Frank Gehry's Childhood Home Faces Demolition [blogTO]
· Submission For Listing 15 Beverley Street [City of Toronto]
· Queen St. West - The Naughty and Nice [Historic Toronto]
· Frank Gehry Unfazed by Plans to Demolish Childhood Home in Toronto [Globe]
· Frank Gehry-Designed Fish Lamps [Fast Company]