AKA: Getty Museum #1, Malibu, CA

Structure Type: built works - exhibition buildings - museums

Designers: Langdon and Wilson, Architects (firm); Wemple, Emmet L., and Associates (firm); David L. Kurutz (landscape architect); Robert Earl Langdon Jr. (architect); Hans Mumper (architect); Emmet L. Wemple (landscape architect); Ernest Clifford Wilson Jr. (architect)

Dates: constructed 1972-1973

This neo-Pompeiian residence/museum, opened 06/15/1973, its art collection assmembled by one of the wealthiest men of his time, the oil tycoon, J. Paul Getty (12/15/1892 – 06/06/1976). Getty left approximately $660 million to his eponymous museum, giving it unparalleled buying power during the 1970s-1990s. This was the collection's first home on the hillsides of Malibu, CA; Getty directed that an art historian/archaeologist, Norman Neuerberg, have a significant part in determining the museum's design and layout. Neuerberg provided classical reconstructions of buildings found at Herculaneum, Italy and Pompeii, Italy, both cities buried by Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Architects Langdon and Wilson adapted and reassembled elements of the these models for use in a modern museum setting. In David Gebhard's estimation: "We would have to turn back to the late 18th century to the personage of James Stuart (who with Nicholas Revett had published The Antiquities of Athens, 1762-90) to come across an analogous situation where contemporary buildings were being designed by an archaeologist." Neuerberg had spent time at the American Academy in Rome and had published on the Roman house extensively. (See David Gebhard, "Getty's Museum," Architecture Plus, 2:5, 09-10/1974, p. 58.) Denis L. Kurutz, of the Emmet L. Wemple, ASLA and Associates, served as the Project Landscape Architect for the J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, CA. Dr.

Many critics, such as Reyner Banham, dismissed the Getty as a "mechanical copy" of its Roman precedents. It was only later, in the 1980s, that critics of the Post Modern era, Charles Jencks, for example, tried to revive the Getty's reputation as a faithful and creative synthesis of classical precedents. (See Charles Jencks, Post-Modernism The New Classicism in Art and Architecture, [New York: Rizzoli, 1987], p. 218-221.) Jencks dated the Getty between 1970-1974.

PCAD id: 14983