Sunday, 2 October 2011

Los Angeles: Lofty heights

So some of you may be aware that I was just in the USA for three weeks on holiday... I intend the next few weeks to be filled with posts about the inspiring ideas I had on my trip.

In Los Angeles I was overawed by the ambitions of architects with grand visions and seemingly unlimited budgets. In the midst of this sprawling city, awash with dry heat, stood various buildings so extraordinary, enormous yet elegant, that I felt compelled to blog about them.

One of my favourite buildings was the Getty Center, perched high on a hill overlooking LA. Not one building but a series of buildings all intertwined, this center is a homage to geometry. To the glory of the grid, more specifically. Each panel on the buildings, each railing, even the distance between each tree, is measured according to a specific grid. The architect was Richard Meier, who listed Frank Lloyd Wright as one of his key influences.

I'm not exactly a grid person, myself. But in attending the architecture tour at the Getty Center, I was inspired by the vision of the architect and his ideas about order and disorder. For example, by laying the gardens out in an accurate grid, he was able to interchange plants and trees to create a sense of order in disorder. That for me is a wonderful creative insight that can be applied to craft and design in many other areas.

Other buildings I adored included the silvery curves of the Walt Disney Concert Hall (not a Mickey Mouse in sight, thank goodness), the LA County Museum of Art and for design of an earlier era, the Richard J Riordan Central Library and the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

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