When I was working as an employee at my first firm in the '90s, two of the biggest projects to grace magazine covers were museums: the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, designed by Frank Gehry (Gehry Partners, LLP) and the Getty Center in Los Angeles, designed by Richard Meier (Richard Meier & Partners LLP). Both won awards. Both were designed by "starchitects." Both had their fans and detractors. Within the office I was working, for the most part, the younger staff preferred the flowing titanium shapes of the Guggenheim, while the older staff favored the Getty's more ordered approach. I was still in my twenties then, but I liked them both.
I haven't yet found my way to Bilbao (or the rest of Spain for that matter), but at the end of 2003, I did find myself in Santa Monica for a 2-day architectural conference. When it was over, I stayed an extra day and met up with a college friend who took me to visit the Getty. At that time it had been open for nearly six years, but the interior exhibits still seemed a little sparse. In fact, we made our way through them by noon. Fortunately, it was a beautiful southern California day and we were able to spend a good deal of the afternoon wandering the campus admiring the buildings and grounds.
Fast forward ten years and I'm in an IMAX theater watching STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS when suddenly the thought occurs to me that the home of Starfleet Command looks strangely familiar. Sure enough, a quick internet search reveals articles like this one and that one which confirm The Getty Center as one of the filming locations. Even the Getty's own Facebook page mentioned it (scroll down to the June 1 entry). I love it when mutual interests intersect!
Photos by Eric Kunisawa
There are several books that go into further detail about The Getty Center:
If you are interested in Richard Meier, here are three titles that might interest you. The first deals with The Getty Center, the second includes other museums his firm has been involved with, and the third is a complete look at his career.