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This Early Frank Gehry Design is Going to be a Whole Foods

In the '60s, before he became famous for his oft beautiful (and only occasionally reviled) deconstructed oeuvre, starchitect Frank Gehry, then a fresh-faced staff architect in California, was asked by developer and early Gehry fan James Rouse to design the Rouse Company HQ in Columbia, Md. Gehry, whose firm now designs headquarters for little-known companies like Facebook, created a four-story, 150,000-square-foot midcentury pile with—could it be?!—white stucco walls and wood trellises. He lovingly termed it an "elegant warehouse," one complete with an atrium, an internal promenade, and a lighting plan that, according to the Architect's Newspaper, "grew out of research for the Joseph Magnin Co. department stores." And so it was for a few decades, until developers decided to drop $25M to convert it into a mixed-use development "anchored" by everybody's favorite place to buy $8 blueberries: Whole Foods Market.

The plan is to keep the exterior as close to Gehry's original design as possible whilst transforming the lowest level into a 28,000-square-foot "mind and body" wellness center and the second level into an outpost of grocery behemoth Whole Foods. At the tippie top will be about 20,000 square feet of office and exhibit space for The Howard Hughes Corp., the Texas-based developer in charge of the entire town's development reboot.

Head on over to Architect's Newspaper for all the details.

· Ghosts of Gehry's Past [Architect's Newspaper]
· All Frank Gehry coverage [Curbed National]