Iwan Baan photographs Frank Gehry’s Luma Arles tower

Iwan Baan photographs Frank Gehry' Luma Arles tower

Architectural photographer Iwan Baan has captured The Tower and its interiors, which was designed by architect Frank Gehry as the centrepiece of the Luma Arles cultural district.

Baan’s photos show the distinctive tower rising above the surrounding buildings on the recently opened Luma Arles arts campus in the town of Arles, France.

The Tower in Arles
The Tower was designed to be a landmark in Arles

Clad in 11,000 irregularly arranged stainless steel panels, the 56-metre-high tower was designed to be a landmark for the 27-acre cultural campus, which was commissioned by Swiss collector Maja Hoffmann, founder of Luma Foundation.

As well as being a marker for the site and a lookout tower, the building contains exhibition galleries, archives, a library, offices, seminar rooms and a cafe.

Iwan Baan photographs Frank Gehry' Luma Arles tower
It is clad in stainless steel panels

According to the architect, the tower was informed by Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings, while the glass drum it rises out of recalls the nearby Roman amphitheatre, which can be seen in Baan’s photographs.

“We wanted to evoke the local, from Van Gogh’s Starry Night to the soaring rock clusters you find in the region,” said Gehry.

“Its central drum echoes the plan of the Roman amphitheatre.”

Arles in France
It rises above the surrounding buildings in Arles

As with several of Gehry’s previous buildings, including the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and the New York by Gehry skyscraper, the tower is clad in stainless steel.

However, in an exclusive interview with Dezeen Gehry said that the project was a one-off rather than fitting into an evolution of his architectural approach.

“I try not to repeat myself,” said Gehry. “I just think about it at the time I’m doing it, the people I’m working with, like Maja, the community.”

“So I don’t think of it,” he added. “I mean, naturally, there’s like this historical lineage but it’s just how I feel at this time in this place.”

Interior of The Tower by Frank Gehry
An atrium stands at the centre of The Tower

Baan’s photos also reveal the arts tower’s interior, where a large lobby space is intersected by numerous curved staircases.

On the ground floor, this space is surrounded by several galleries and a cafe.

Above this on the first and second floor are more galleries and studio spaces along with a library and members area.

The building is topped with a viewing platform.

Spiral staircase in Arles
Numerous curved staircases give access to the upper floors

The Tower was built as part of the redevelopment of a former railyard that was left vacant in 1986.

Together with a series of industrial buildings that have been renovated by New York-based Selldorf Architects, the site is now Luma Arles.

The Tower at night
At night the tower’s facade reflects light

Pritzker Architecture Prize winner Gehry is one of the world’s leading architects. Recently completed projects by the architect include the renovation and extension of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Louis Vuitton Maison Seoul and Facebook’s California campus.

He also recently designed a gold bottle to mark the 150th anniversary of Hennessy X.O.

Photography is by Iwan Baan.

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