July 12, 2007

The Los Angeles Getty Center

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:56 am by classicalmusic

A visit to the Getty Center in Los Angeles is a real happening.

Up and Up on the Tram

A visit to the Getty Center is much, much more than just a museum tour.  Built on the southern foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains, you can see the most gorgeous view of the city of Los Angeles, the Santa Monica and San Gabriel Mountains and the Pacific Ocean.  But half the fun of the visit is getting there.  From the parking lot the visitor takes a little tram ride up, up to the hilltop campus of the Center itself.  The ride unfolds vistas of the Center campus above, the city below and the beautiful scenery in between.

Designed by the well known architect, Richard Meier, the buildings are clad in rich Italian travertine, a form of limestone, which was specially treated to show a “rough” exterior on which the sunlight plays in ever-changing shows of brilliance.  The Center is made up of six buildings, some of which are research centers for conservation and other sciences.  The campus is 700 acres which allows for a wonderful feeling of space.  Meier used many forms of stone formations, piazzas and waterways to enhance this spatial feeling.

The Getty Gardens

More beautiful than any of the museum’s art collections are the fantastic gardens of the Getty Center.  It is worthwhile to take the guided tour at least once, to hear about the planning of the gardens by Robert Irwin.  The gardens take advantage of the natural ravine and cascade down terraced walls.  A stream runs through them ending up in a reflecting pool.  The flowers and trees are in a constant state of change with the seasons, the times of day and the changing light.  It is a wondrous, restful atmosphere high above the busy metropolis of Los Angeles, but does not lose its touch with the city.  A really great place to go!

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