I’ve spent a lot of time in Los Angeles in the past few months consulting for a client there. In a short-but-sweet time off, I did get to visit the Getty Center, a huge $1.2 billiion complex overlooking LA, designed by Richard Meier, which was literally walking distance from the hotel I was staying at.
Richard Meier is one of those architects whose works all architecture students of my generation have a love hate relationship with. You love it because it’s so romantically modern, in the lineage of the master Corbu himself, but begin to hate for the same hegemony and seductive qualities, constraining the exploration of architectural potential.
The Getty Center stands almost like the Acropolis on a hillside and is accessible only by tram. But I must say, I was impressed by the architecture, and the attention to detail. Meier’s signature white walls, the careful choice of materials, the landscaping, the architectural promenade weaving through the building that serendipitously revealing view of LA all beautifully complement the blue sky and the dry landscape.
You could sit on the grass, which prompted one surprised kids to shout back at his parents, “Look Ma – free grass!” It just tells you how nature-deprived we all are living in cities.
On one of the steps, I found something interesting: an imprint of a leaf in the travertine stair landing. It’s a mystery how it got there.