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Gehry joins local architects in promising New Orleans aid

World-famous architect Frank Gehry has vowed to help rebuild America's hurricane-battered Gulf Coast.

Gehry's partly built Ohr-O'Keefe Museum (pictured) on Biloxi East Beach Boulevard, Mississippi, was among thousands of buildings flattened during the devastating storms last week.

It is understood the $30 million museum complex - which was due to open next July - was crushed by the Grand Casino barge tossed out of the water by Hurricane Katrina.

Speaking to the Gulf Coast Saturdaynewspaper from Japan, a determined Gehry pledged that he 'would be in the fight to rebuild the city with you'.

Meanwhile in Houston, Texas, the temporary home for 20,000 evacuees from New Orleans, the city's chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) has compiled a list of firms with jobs for displaced architects. In addition, the organisation has drawn up a register of people who can offer them free guest rooms.

'Houston has a big heart, and the architecture community is part of that,' said AIA executive director Barrie Scardino.

Tomorrow (6 September), the chapter will also hold a meeting with about 30 AIA directors from the Gulf Coast region to devise plans to help other evacuated architects.

Scardino added: 'There will be a lot of work in New Orleans. It will be rebuilt.' Until then, he admitted, the architects from New Orleans will 'need all the support they can get'.

by Richard Waite

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