Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Getty Center

IMG_6919 Getty Center stairs

Perched on the crest of a hill in the Santa Monica Mountains of Southern California is the Getty Center. The tram whisked my son and me from the street-level parking lot to the hilltop plaza. Our eyes were immediately drawn to the travertine staircase leading to a white undulating building. It was a blistering hot October day in Los Angeles. My son wished he packed a pair of sunglasses because the reflection cast off the bright surfaces of the buildings and plaza was blinding.

IMG_7020 Getty Center tram


We chose to climb the stairs on the left side, where waterfall steps...

IMG_6927 getty center stairs

...emitted soothing sounds as sheets of water poured down each step...


… creating a visually cooling effect.

IMG_6930 Getty Center stairs

A lead sculpture called “Air” is precariously balanced midway up the steps.

"Air"
Aristide Maillol (French 1861-1944)
Designed 1938, cast 1962
I spoke about the lack of warning notices in my post about the Oslo Opera House, because here in California even sculptures get a warning tag.
***

Architect Richard Meier used 16,000 tons of beige Italian travertine stone to cover 1.2 million square feet of surface area …

 IMG_7018 Getty Center lawn

IMG_7021 Getty Center wall


IMG_6938 Getty Center plaza


… 40,000 panels of off-white enamel-clad aluminum …




… and vast quantities of glass. The view out of each window and door  is picture perfect:












Water is another important and dynamic surface area in Meier’s design.

IMG_6987 Getty Center fountain

IMG_6937 Getty Center fountain

Meier allowed the qualities of the site to inform his design. He accentuated the steep terrain…



...defined the space of the campus on the naturally-occurring ridges of the hillside...

Cactus Garden

... used native drought-resistant plantings ...




...and took advantage of the panoramic views of downtown Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean.


IMG_6954 Getty Center North Pavilion window view
The hour and a half we spent at the Getty Center was a great diversion from four days of non-stop college campus tours.



34 comments:

Ruth said...

I feel such freedom in these windows, this air, this light.

The Aristide sculpture is so like one in the Tuilleries that I have taken comfort in, after long days of walking in Paris, when my legs were aching, and she looked as though she were doing Pilates. ;-)

Ginnie said...

Following my sister, I see.... :)

I am so glad you mentioned Oslo's Opera House because that came to mind as I looked at several of these images, DB. All that glass. All that stone. And the attention to blending in with the environment. I love the way you put your posts together like this! You're a 'master' in your own right.

Chesney said...

With all of the different perspectives you captured I feel as if I was there. Very cool stairway!

Hope you found some colleges...we are about to do that w/ the boys...they are gong to be Sr's next year, ugh!

California Girl said...

Is it easier to get tickets now? I have longed to visit during my trips home but it was such a hassle to get in, I never bothered. Planning a trip home in late Summer and I know my husband would love to shoot there.

btw, the columns look like uncovered remnants. Love the look. Getty's villa, in Santa Monica, above PCH originally housed the collection. It is a Roman design. Very beautiful.

EG Wow said...

Interesting architecture in a lovely landscape.

Kala said...

With these various images, you have certainly given us a wonderful idea of what it's like to visit this place.

Ola said...

I am impressed with this architecture, very modern and elegant

Reader Wil said...

What an interesting and fascinating building this centre is. So it's everything connected with art formes like an art gallery, a concert hall, a theatre, roof gardens, water and plants and sculptures. All made of the finest materials. I can understand that you enjoyed walking here around.Thanks for sharing!

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

All that in only 90 minutes? Wow. I love your photos of the Getty...I think it's about time I visit again, you've inspired me. I just live 30 minute down the road (on a good traffic day)....

The Getty Villa is amazing too...right on the coast.

lisa said...

What a gorgeous structure!!
The amount of windows is amazing.
Thank you for taking us on a tour of it!!

Marilyn said...

Nice photos! I don't remember being able to see so much of the view the day I was there some years ago. It is a lovely place to visit.

Forest Dream Weaver said...

What a beautiful and informative post.I love the Maillol....such exquisite modelling and the architecture and views are stunning.

Thanks for sharing this!

Victoria said...

An amazing collection of images... I feel as though I've been there! And your post definitely makes me want to go there and see it for myself... the views looking out the windows are some of my favorites... what a great 'vision' the architect had when designing this space. The first image in the series is another favorite... such a marvelous shape to the building!

London Caller said...

"Air" looks a bit like "Joy of Life" in London's Hyde Park.
Maybe it was created by the same sculptor?!

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Ruth,
You are right, the "Air" sculpture is a cast copy the one in the Tuileries, though that one is bronze and this copy is made of lead. Yes, her Pilates moves seem to serve her well :-)

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Ginnie,
You two sisters are some of the greatest gifts that blogging has given me. I always look forward to the Hart sisters' posts and comments!

Yes, the Oslo Opera House came to mind when I walked through The Getty. Thank you for your encouragement!

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Chesney,
I appreciate you joining the tour.

Yes, my son and I have now gone on two college tours. Thankfully, he found a few he finds exciting. Good luck with your searches!

Dutchbaby said...

Dear California Girl,
We were there on a Sunday afternoon in October and got in without advance tickets. I would love to see the photos that you and your husband will capture there.

We are planning to go to a wedding in San Diego in August. It would be great if we could go to the Getty Villa on the way home. I've never been; thanks for the recommendation!

Dutchbaby said...

Dear EG Wow,
Indeed. Thanks for your visit.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Kala,
I'm glad you feel that way.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Ola,
I think this modern architecture looks very good in Los Angeles. It would look more strange in Poland, don't you think?

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Reader Wil,
Thank you for pointing this out because I failed to explain what the Getty Center is. Yes, it is all those things and a truly enjoyable place.

Dutchbaby said...

Sara at Come Away With Me,
Lucky you, living so close to The Getty. Haven't been to the villa yet; it's on my list. That and the Huntington. So much art, so little time.

Welcome to Dutchbaby

Dutchbaby said...

Dear lisa,
The pleasure is all mine!

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Marilyn,
Thank you for your visit, knowing that you are not feeling well.

Maybe it was one of those typical hazy days in Los Angeles when you visited.

Get well soon!

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Forest Dream Weaver,
I love that Maillol too. She looks so alive! The black lead looks great against the beige travertine.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Victoria,
I love the shape of the building also. It looks somewhat organic, even though it is clad in an inorganic aluminum.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear London Caller,
I can see why you may think it might have been the same sculptor because the figures appear to be floating, like the Maillol. "Joy of Life" was sculpted by T. B. Huxley-Jones, though.

Relyn said...

I am so very disappointed that I still haven't been here - a museum among museums.

Ruth said...

My son Peter's band Lord Huron will be playing here July 30! :-)

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Ruth,
Wow, what a great gig!

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Relyn,
I can see you there, scribbling away in your journals. This place evokes so many feelings, both inside and outside, I know you'd be brimming with emotion.

Donald's Garden said...

Beautiful photos! You got views I wished I had, when I photographed the museum back in 2008. My photos are mostly of the garden. Go to the post on 06/26/08 to see them.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Donald's Garden,
Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful photos of the Getty Garden. That boxwood maze is especially impressive. I also adore how you captured the architecture from below.

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