Field Trip: Getty Center

Last year around Christmas, we took a great road trip down the west coast and over through the desert.  Already mentioned is some tasty sites from San Francisco (deYoung + Cal. Academy).  Plenty more to come as i sift through pics, but the visit to the Getty Center, perched on the hillside in Los Angeles was a definite highlight.

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This Richard Meier designed complex clad in copious amounts of marble features an array of interesting site elements, with Laurie Olin as a major contributor to the site layout and circulation, along with the central garden by artist Robert Irwin.  The following images show the breadth site spaces.  Definitely worthy of a trip (and it’s amazing even in December) – and other than paying for parking – entry is free.

The terraced spaces and marble are sculptural forms are sculptural in their own right, while making spaces for outdoor sculpture, seating, and views of the city.

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Around the site, small moments were captures through terraces, stairways, water features, and smaller plazas all of which were tied together with materials (both plant and hardscape) along with a simplicity of form and function.

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Simple in form and function, I really appreciated the shade-canopy elements of bougainvillaea on rebar trellises, which made for a nice seating zone, while also provide a dynamic visual element from other areas of the site.

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The focal point of Irwin’s Central Garden – probably my least favorite element of floating topiary zone – which seemed a bit overdone – particularly in the context of the sparse minimalism of the rest of the site.

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Some of the garden’s circulation, however, was interesting, with a zig-zag path, seating, corten steel, and crossings of a central water feature.

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We walked the grounds, never actual visiting the galleries inside, but the experience, views, and integrated architecture and landscape was pretty amazing – and definitely a must-see for the traveler to Los Angeles.

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More field trip and photos to come.

(Photos ©  Jason King)

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