Building the Getty / Edition 1

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This book provides a fascinating history of the planning, design, and construction of the six-building Getty Center in Los Angeles, one of the great cultural complexes to be built in our time. Writing with wit and passion, Richard Meier takes us behind the scenes of the thirteen-year-long, one-billion-dollar project.

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Editorial Reviews

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The Barnes & Noble Review
One of several celebratory publications marking the opening, on December 16th, of the Getty Center in Los Angeles, "Building the Getty" is Richard Meier's fascinating memoir of the 13-year, $1 billion project. Meier tells us how he was selected from more than 30 architects, after a lengthy and involved series of interviews, to design the cultural campus on the spectacular 110-acre site overlooking the Santa Monica Mountains and the Pacific Ocean.

The Getty Center is a multiuse complex housing the museum, institutes, and a grant program. Meier's task was to design a series of buildings that would stand as architectural masterpieces while preserving the strong identity of the various institutes. Despite Meier's commission for the Getty job, it soon became clear that the Getty directors and the trustees were determined to keep a tight hold on the design process. As a result of the Getty Trust's detailed technical specifications and cultural objectives, Meier continually tested and redefined the design, finalizing it only in 1991—seven years after his commission.

In "Building the Getty," Meier recounts in engrossing detail how the 13-year design and building process involved constant revisions due to the demands, and specific needs imposed by the center's trustees as well as the many architects, engineers, technicians, craftsmen, and builders involved. The book illuminates the kinds of problems even the most eminent architects face, which in the case of the Getty Center was magnified by the large size and complex scope of the project. The resulting eye-opening story of thismasterpiece is a unique tribute to both the monumental architectural undertaking and the art and process of building in this century—Janine Liebert

Library Journal
Great buildings often have lives of their own, and it is fortunate when the architect responsible for their creation tells their story. The Getty Centerset to open this monthis a billion-dollar complex n a campus-like environment overlooking Los Angeles. Meier, Getty's prize-winning architect, tells of his struggles in creating a manageable design when faced with residents opposed to the center, the challenges posed by the seismically active area, and a surprisingly penny-pinching J. Paul Getty Trust. After a brief autobiographical sketch that includes summaries of his other major projects, including the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona, Meier launches into his creation of the Getty Center. His restrained style subtly betrays the braggadocio seemingly required of all great architects. As a document of the construction of one of the great public structures of the late 20th century, this account is indispensable. Recommended for larger architecture collections. [For an account of the contents of the museum, see John Walsh and Deborah Gribbon's The J. Paul Getty Museum and Its Collections, reviewed on p. 102.Ed.]Martin R. Kalfatovic, Smithsonian Inst. Libs., Washington, D.C.
New York Review of Books
Accurately portrays the kinds of problems that even eminent architects face as a matter of course but that in his case were magnified by the scope of the project.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520217300
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 216
  • Sales rank: 1,071,527
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Meier has received the highest honors in architecture, including the 1997 Gold Medal from the American
Institute of Architects and the Pritzker Architecture Prize. His award-winning buildings include the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the Canal + Television Headquarters in Paris, and the acclaimed Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona.

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