I was doing some research on the Guggenheim in Bilbao, a world-renowned architectural triumph that also kickstarted the redevelopment and resurgence of that once down-on-its-luck port town.

The Wikipedia page informed me that the construction of the Guggenheim in Bilbao finished on time and on budget.

My first reaction was: “that can’t be!” That’s almost unheard of with massive complex projects like this (as far as I know – I’m not an expert). That surprising detail led me to dive a little deeper into the methodology that allowed that to happen: “Organization of the Artist”.

This framework was created and used by Gehry to enshrine the designer at the center of the process. Thus ensuring the result is true to their vision. It also (at least in this case), seems to have the handy byproduct of a project that gets completed on time and on budget. No small feat. For reference, the Sydney Opera House  project was completed ten years late and 1,357% over budget.

Not late, not over budget

Often large-scale projects end up awkward and compromised. Lots of parties have a stake, and thus people get nervous. They want to intervene and take control. Voices get loud, hands get busy – but only to ‘help’, of course – and projects enter a downward spiral. People get more nervous, more interventionist, leading to more problems. And on it goes; that lack of trust starts to snowball.

Scripts end up in development hell, clients demand more input on advertising concepts, and building projects get resubmitted ad nauseum. Projects balloon in cost and scope, even as the very elements which got them approved in the first place are pared away.

Organization of the artist

Not so with “Organization of the artist”. This is something I’ll immediately be adopting in my creative and freelance life. Working on new scripts and shows and books and things I’ll let people know that, inspired by Frank Gehry, our working method is “Organization of the artist”. We follow the vision. The one everyone agreed on in the first place.

It sounds a lot better than “I’m just gonna do what I want”. And the best thing is, if the Guggenheim Bilbao is any indicator: it gets results.