Richard Meier was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1934. Meier graduated from Cornell University in 1957 and began practicing in 1963. He was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1984. This same year he was chosen to design the Getty Center located in Los Angeles, California.
The Getty is placed on the Santa Monica Mountains next to the San Diego Freeway. Upon arrival, once visitors park they are taken to the top of the hill in two electric trams. The entire campus surrounds a plaza with the intention of being a gathering point and implements framed views of the city. The Getty is composed of 1.2 million square feet of beige, texturized Italian travertine. Meier’s reason for choosing stone was because of the architectural expression of “permanence, solidity, simplicity, warmth, and craftsmanship.” Natural light is a key feature at the Getty. Exterior glass walls invite sunshine into the buildings and also serve as the lighting in the painting galleries. The inside of the museum consists of sight lines of the interior and exterior spaces allowing for an easy flow of movement in and out of the five galleries. To the west of the Central Garden Houses is the Getty Research Institute building. This circular library filled with books and reading areas wraps around a central courtyard. This building also offers natural light to the subterranean reading room through the incorporation of a skylight. To the North and East of the Arrival Plaza is the Getty Foundation, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the J. Paul Getty Trust administration offices. This area consists of sunken gardens, glass walls and an open floor plan and more great views of Los Angeles.