Monday, April 27, 2009

The inspiring gardens and architecture of The Getty Center...

No trip to L.A. is complete without a trip to The Getty Center in Brentwood to take in its beautiful gardens, views and architecture. 
Model of The Getty Center
The Center is just over ten years old, having opened on 16th December 1997 and still looks fresh and new. For me the architectural design and layout of the buildings are more interesting than the art exhibitions they house.Getty Center model
Sitting on a hilltop in the Santa Monica Mountain range the complex offers fantastic views of the surrounding area. 
The Getty Center, California
It was even been designed with the panoramic views in mind, with archways and viewing platforms to frame the local landscape. 
Getty Center arrival plaza sculpture
You can see the San Bernadino Mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west, along with the sprawling L.A. skyline.
Getty Center cactus garden south view
I've visited The Getty Center once before, last October with my parents, but I still managed to get lost on the way there as my car GPS decided to take me in the completely wrong direction and we ended up in a dead end up the side of the mountain. 
Getty Center arrival plaza
Eventually we made it to The Getty Center, but just remember to enter via Sepulveda Boulevard, whatever your in car guidance is telling you.
Exhibition Pavilion Getty Center
The weather was better on my return visit, but there must be a 'Getty Center curse' as the sunshine turned into a gloomy overcast day as the skies darkened and marine layer rolled in. 
The Getty Center architecture
Luckily I managed to get some fantastic pictures of the buildings and gardens with the sun still shining.
Getty Center landscaped garden
It is a great place to take visiting friends and family to be inspired by the Richard Meier designed Center, stroll through the tranquil beautifully landscaped Robert Irwin Central Garden, or to enjoy the art exhibits and sculptures to be found in the grounds and galleries.
The Getty Center garden stream
The Central Garden is an amazing design, with tree-lined walkway that follows a trickling stream down to a pool with an impressive floating maze of azaleas. 
Getty Center Central Garden floating azalea maze
The beautiful Central Garden at The Getty CenterCentral Garden floating maze at The Getty Center
It's a lovely garden to walk through and to look down upon from the viewing balconies above.
Getty Center Central Garden
The garden is forever changing all year round and bougainvillea arbors add dramatic colour when they are in bloom at this time of year.
Getty Center gardens in bloom
Apparently the Central Garden features over 500 plants, shrubs and materials to create its unique look.
Colourful bougainvillea arbors at the Getty Center
The Cactus Garden at the South View of the complex, plus fountains in the Museum Courtyard also add visual interest to the Center's design.
Getty Center fountain pool
Much of the Center is made from travertine stone (about 1.2 million square feet of it), which gives the complex a light, solid and well-crafted appearance, with its beige-colouring and natural finish perfect under the bright Californian sun.
Getty Center West Pavilion
The 16,000 tons of travertine stone are from Bagni di Tivoli in Italy, some 15 miles east of Rome and certainly gives the Center a unique look and feel.
Getty Center Research Institute building
When you walk around the Center you realise that there's so much to look at in the design of the buildings, layout of the grounds and the detail of the plantings. 
Getty Center Central Garden view
On a bright sunny day it is a lovely place to just be and if that marine layer does roll in, you've always got the exhibitions inside to amuse yourself with.
Getty Center cascading stream
And I've not even shown you the delights of the sculpture terrace and gardens, come back tomorrow for more on those...

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