The Getty Center

A hilltop village for culture that weaves together art, architecture, and landscape into a unified cultural experience.

The Getty Center occupies a unique 110-acre site jutting southward from the Santa Monica Mountains. The program brings the seven components of the Getty Trust into a coherent unity, while maintaining their distinct identities. The individual buildings of the campus—which include the Museum, a 450-seat auditorium, the Conservation Institution, the Center for Education, and the Research Institute, which itself includes a million-volume library—are organized along two of the site’s topographical ridges, seamlessly integrating the architecture into the surrounding landscape.

The approach begins when visitors leave their vehicles in the underground parking garage and board the tram that transports them to the hilltop. Exploring the campus, visitors encounter smaller pavilion buildings, connected by gardens, that break down the scale of the museum experience, allowing for pauses and encouraging interplay between the interior and exterior. Throughout, buildings are designed to take advantage of the climate through the use of loggias, pergolas and full height glazing at the external perimeter.

The design for the Getty was inspired by Hadrian’s Villa and the spectacular site, and seeks to establish a complete harmony between art, architecture, and nature. Throughout the Getty complex, landscape design has been deployed to integrate the buildings into the mountainous topography and link each individual structure to the others. Garden sequences extend beyond the enclosed volumes, connecting smaller pavilions to break down the scale of the museum experience, allowing for pauses and encouraging a fluid interplay between the interior and exterior that makes the most of this extraordinary site. The project’s sensitivity to its environment has been recognized with a LEED Existing Building certification, underscoring the firm’s longstanding commitment to principles of sustainability.