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The Getty Center

Museum and Research Center Beyond the LA Skyline

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Early construction photo of the Getty Center, designed by Pritzker Prize winning architect Richard Meier

Early construction photo of the Getty Center, designed by Pritzker Prize winning architect Richard Meier

Pritzker Prize Press Image Circular entrance hall  of the Getty Museum in Los Angeles

Museum Entrance Hall, Getty Museum. Photo by David McNew/Getty Images, ©2005 Getty Images

Stone pillars of the outdoor cafe seen from the green landscape of the Getty Center, Los Angeles

Outside the cafe at the Getty Center, October 2005 in Los Angeles, California.

Photo by David McNew/Getty Images, ©2005 Getty Images

Location:

Just off the San Diego Freeway in the Santa Monica Mountains, overlooking Los Angeles, California and the Pacific Ocean

Architects:

Completion Date:

Inaugurated in December 1997

Design Highlights:

The Getty Center is organized around a central arrival plaza. Architect Richard Meier used curvilinear design elements. The Museum Entrance Hall and the canopy over the Harold M. Williams Auditorium are circular.

Materials Used:

  • 1.2 million square feet, 16,000 tons, of beige-colored travertine stone from Italy. The stone was split along its natural grain, revealing the texture of fossilized leaves, feathers, and branches.
  • 40,000 off-white, enamel-clad aluminum panels.
  • Expansive sheets of glass.

Inspirations:

The low, horizontal profile of the Getty Center may have been inspired by the work of other architects who designed buildings in Southern California:

Getty Center Transport:

Two 3-car, computer-operated trams ride on a cushion of air to the hilltop Getty Center, which is 881 feet above sea level.

Learn More:

See Photos:

Related Buildings:

In Malibu, the 64-acre Getty Villa site was for many years the location of the J. Paul Getty Museum. The original villa was based on the Villa dei Papiri, a first-century Roman country house. The Getty Villa closed for renovations in 1996, but is now reopened and serves as an educational center and museum dedicated to the study of the arts and cultures of ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria.

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