The Getty Center in Los Angeles has to be one of the most beautifully designed museum complexes in the world. It sits on a hilltop of the Santa Monica Mountains with views of Los Angeles in one direction and the mountains reaching the Pacific Ocean in the other.
The center opened at the very end of 1997 and it must have been around 1999 or 2000 when I last visited. It was even more beautiful than I remembered it.
The architect was Richard Meier and he used 1.2 million square feet of Italian Travertine to clad the multiple buildings that make up the center's campus. The effect is brightly lit space with light reflecting from the buildings and radiating warmth in the evenings when the air starts to cool.
Everyplace I stood while on the campus seemed to create another spectacular view.
The public spaces in the museum were awash in natural light and even the galleries were naturally lit in a way that protects the art while giving guests the right light for the art on display.
One of my favorite parts was the garden in the center of the complex.
I couldn't wait to make my way down there to explore.
There was a lot to discover in the garden. The path follows a stream and crosses it several times on the way down. I loved the bougainvillea artfully contained within custom rebar trellises shaping them into umbrella-like trees.
The water of the stream makes it way over a waterfall and into the central pond witch contains a beautifully designed labyrinth of green plants.
I could spend all day just admiring the architecture and gardens but, that would mean I'd miss all the wonderful art inside. It's a very good thing that I planned my visit on a day that the Getty Center was open late!