A beloved favorite

The name Richard Meier came up quite a bit while I studied of Architecture at the University of Tennessee. One of his most notable designs, the Getty Museum, has always been one of my favorite places in Los Angeles. I try to visit at least once a year, and this year’s visit came a bit earlier in the year than most.

How do you make something familiar feel new?

In my opinion, the coolest part of the Getty’s design is in it’s approach to the entrance; Meier made it an experience. The museum sits atop a hill, a glowing fortress of artistic masterpieces. To arrive at the entrance, you ride a tram up a winding track on a hillside. This journey begins at the base of the hill, just off of Sepulveda Blvd. at a parking garage and small outdoor plaza with an information booth. A cue forms and the tram is filled to capacity. Guests begin their ride.

On this particular day, I decided to disrupt this routine. Instead of riding the tram to the top, I ventured into a small sculpture garden adjacent to the plaza/tram platform. There has always been a service road and sidewalk, parallel to the tram track, that lead up to the museum. This road is very visible from the sculpture garden. I’ve always filed the idea of walking up to the museum under, “yeah, right.” It appeared to be such a long walk, but this day, I took it on.

To be perfectly honest, this decision and journey really began because I had the rebellious thought that I refused to pay the usual $15 parking charge to park in the Getty’s garage. “No. Not today,” I thought. What that bold decision meant was that I ended up parking about a mile away from the Getty on Moraga Dr. Worth it? Maybe not. The walk along Sepulveda Blvd. was not a friendly one. There are only patches of sidewalk on the east side of the road. On the west, below the 405 Freeway, there is open space, but a chain link fence discouraging pedestrian traffic. The only plus was being able to capture the first image you will see in the gallery below from a nice vantage point along Sepulveda Blvd.

After the mile walk and entering the Getty as usual, I was in a bit of masochist mindset, “Well if you’ve walked this far, another mile won’t matter.” I proceeded to walk along the winding service road up to the museum. Bellyaching aside, it was turned out to be very nice and offered a few new vistas of and from a location of familiarity:

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