The Getty Museum at the Getty Center is
one of the finest museums in California and perhaps, the world.
The Getty Museum
Los Angeles California Photos
atop a hill of the Santa Monica mountains above the 405 - San Diego Freeway, many who drive this freeway and come to a stop at this juncture in the
road from time to time, watched construction which went on for several
years till this massive complex of buildings was completed under the watchful
eye of architect Richard Meier. Read the description below to find out
why helicopters often hovered above the mountain, lowering items onto the
site. Location: 1200 Getty Center Drive Los Angeles,
CA 90049 (310) 440-7300
The Getty Museum is free to the public
with parking charged at approx. $5 per car, reservations required weekdays. When
the Center opened several years ago, it was nearly impossible to make a
reservation. Don't let that stop you now. Visitors from throughout
the world flock to this stunning facility where teak outdoor tables, leather
cushioned seats and imported Italian marble make you feel like royalty
as you glide through the place wearing shorts and tennis shoes, oohing
and aahing over the art, gardens and views.
Though there are buses going to the museum
from Santa Monica and Los Angeles, the museum is closed Mondays and major
holidays and it is wise to call the Getty Center or check their web
site before visiting.
With a fine art collection representing
great painters over a 500-year span, sculptures, photographs, and a variety
of media, this mega-museum is a cultural Mecca. There are extensive
educational programs for children, numerous lecture series, scholarships,
a publications division, musical programs, changing exhibits and a web
site which claims to house over 54,000 pages. Just visiting the web site
can be amount to a short course in a variety of topics from fine art to
photography to music.
The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international
cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts of
the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation
Institute, and the Getty Grant Program. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty
programs are based at the Getty Center in Los Angeles.
Where to Stay:
Hotel Angelino is a four star hotel, famous for
its unique building shaped like a column rising into the air. Visible
from the 405 - San Diego Freeway, it is adjacent to the Getty Center.
If you want nice and close, stay there. It is the only hotel right next
to the Getty. Also nearby are UCLA and Westwood and Santa Monica
beaches a 10 to 15 minute drive.
Once in a while we are treated to something
spectacular. A building or complex with lines, curves and shapes or color
and style that enhances the landscape is sorely needed in this urban maze.
Sadly, the architectural histories of some of the finer buildings in California
are difficult to come by. This author delights in the works of the
Neutras but found that one of their projects, the Central Library in Huntington
Beach, California, did not have on file, information about the unique architecture
and art at that facility. Research on the Crystal Cathedral in Garden
Grove, California and the Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles has provided
some stumbling blocks, as well. So, we post this information provided
by the Getty Center about the architecture of the project, and hope that
they keep the documentation available years down the road, even when it
seems that interest has waned. The stories behind the great buildings provide
a history, beyond those unkind years that might have taken a toll on some
of our beloved haunts.
Architecture as Art
From the hill where the Getty Center sits,
visitors can enjoy views of Los Angeles, Pacific Ocean and the San
Gabriel Mountains Inspired by the interplay of setting and view, architect
Richard Meier sought to design the new complex so that it highlights both
nature and culture, creating a synchronistic, organic whole.
Two computer-operated trams take
visitors from a street-level parking facility to the hilltop site. The
campus, clad largely in cleft-cut, Italian travertine, is organized around
a central arrival plaza, and offers framed panoramic views of the city
Curvilinear design elements, like the circular Museum Entrance Hall and
the canopy over the Harold M. Williams Auditorium entrance call to mind
the Baroque. But there is also a bright openness to the complex, a horizontality
reminiscent of the work of such Southern California modernists as Rudolf
Schindler, Richard Neutra, and Frank Lloyd Wright.
Richard Meier took many of his cues for
the design from the site itself, and from the Trust planning team’s desire
to retain the sense of openness found at the original Getty Museum in Malibu.
The Getty Center’s six buildings follow a natural ridge in the hilltop.
Working with this natural topography, Meier positioned the Center’s buildings
at sites that are relatively public or private in character, depending
on the needs of each. He also suggested a connection between the organization
of the Center and the layout of the city’s grid. All six buildings are
as open as security and conservation needs will allow. Galleries, offices,
and the Auditorium lead out to courtyards and terraces; all offices receive
natural light. Because the Getty’s neighbors requested that the complex
be no more than two stories above grade, all of the buildings extend underground
and are linked with subterranean corridors that facilitate the moving of
artwork and other materials.
The use of stone--1.2 million square feet
of it--is perhaps one of the most remarked-upon elements of the new complex.
This beige-colored, cleft-cut, textured, fossilized travertine catches
the bright Southern California daylight, reflecting sharply during morning
hours and emitting a honeyed warmth in the afternoon.
Although Meier’s previous work has featured
white metal-paneled walls almost exclusively, he chose stone for much of
this project because it is often associated with public architecture. More
importantly, the stone expresses 1ualities the Getty Center celebrates:
permanence, solidity, simplicity, warmth, and craftsmanship.
The 16,000 tons of travertine used in the
project were quarried in Bagni di Tivoli, Italy, 15 miles east of Rome.
Split along its natural grain, many of the stones bear fossilized leaves,
feathers, and branches. Meier and his staff worked for a year with the
Bagni di Tivoli quarries to invent a "guillotine" process that would result
in such a rough textured finish.
Travertine panels cover not only the retaining
walls and the bases of all buildings, but also serve as paving stones for
the arrival plaza and Museum courtyard, and on indoor walls in transitional
spaces between galleries. For the non-public buildings, and the curvilinear
elements of the Museum, off-white, enamel-clad aluminum panels have been
used as the exterior surface.
Natural lighting is another of the Getty
Center’s most important architectural elements. Many of the Center’s exterior
surfaces are made of glass, allowing the brilliant Southern California
sunshine to illuminate the interiors. Using a computer-assisted system
of louvers and shades that adjust the intensity and quality of light, the
paintings galleries on the Museum’s upper level are all naturally lit,
with special filters to prevent damage to the paintings.
The Museum is comprised of five interconnected
two-story pavilions, and offers visitors the choice of exploring the collections
chronologically or of moving in and out of the pavilions at their leisure--taking
time to enjoy the exterior courtyard spaces with the three fountains and
Mexican Cypress trees, and the cactus garden to the south. See: Central Garden
and Bougainvillea Arbors. Throughout the
Museum, there is a freedom of choice, with routes that are fluid and criss-crossing.
One can explore the galleries in sequence or at random, at first-or second-story
level, without having to retrace one’s steps. Because of the interplay
of interior and exterior space, between gallery and garden, one always
knows where one is and where one has been.
-Source of architectural information is
The Getty Center. Visit the Center and the fabulous web site to see works of
great artists, information and days worth of reading. getty.edu/