LOS ANGELES—The Getty Research Institute’s architecture-related holdings include more than 30,000 original drawings, 750,000 photographs, nearly 100 models, and a vast array of papers including letters, notebooks, records, posters, and other ephemera.
“The GRI contains one of the world’s largest collections devoted to art and architecture and we are delighted to heighten the visibility of our architectural-related holdings. By doing so, we hope to create an open and accessible forum for scholarly and public discourse,” says Thomas Gaehtgens, director of the Getty Research Institute.
The diverse, international collection dates from 1500 to the present and includes concentrations in 19th and 20th century avant-garde movements and mid-20th century modernism. Among the collection’s strengths are deep holdings in Southern California architecture, including the archives of Ray Kappe, Pierre Koenig and John Lautner as well as the photographic archive of the famous Los Angeles architectural photographer Julius Shulman. There are also global gems such as the Daniel Libeskind Collection, with sketches and competition drawings for the well-known Jewish Museum in Berlin; the recently acquired archive of the influential French architectural critic and theoretician Yona Friedman; and the Bauhaus Papers, a collection of assembled material from the Bauhaus years of 1919-1933 (see list of collection highlights below).
Wim de Wit serves as senior curator with Christopher James Alexander serving as curator. De Wit, an architectural historian, and Alexander, an urban designer and practicing artist, have combined their talents to curate several successful recent Getty exhibitions including Julius Shulman, Modernity and the Metropolis (October 2005), which traveled to the National Building Museum, Washington, D.C. and the Art Institute of Chicago, and Julius Shulman’s Los Angeles (October 2007), hosted by the Los Angeles Central Public Library in celebration of the Getty Center’s tenth anniversary. Most recently, they co-curated Bernard Rudofsky: What Would Intrigue Him Now? (July 2007), presented at the Canadian Center for Architecture, Montreal and the Getty’s installation of Lessons from Bernard Rudofsky (March 2008). "It is our goal to play a seminal role on a regional, national and international level in the worlds of architecture, design, architectural history and preservation," says de Wit.
Alexander adds, “This collection engages the public’s growing interest in all areas of design, from mid-century modernism to the ambitious, computer-aided forms of the twenty-first century. We look forward to fostering the research, discussion, and advancement of architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, exhibition design, industrial design, graphic design and textile design.”
GRI ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN COLLECTION HIGHLIGHTS
Southern California Architecture:
Ray Kappe Archive
The architectural archive (drawings, models, and papers) of the prominent architect and founder of the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc).
Acquired in 2007
Pierre Koenig Archive
The architectural archive (drawings, photographs, papers, and models) of the famous architect of such iconic houses as Case Study House 21 and Case Study House 22.
Acquired in 2006
John Lautner Archive
The architectural archive (drawings, models, photographs, and papers) of the important Southern-California architect who designed innovative residences such as the Chemosphere, Silvertop, and the Elrod House.
Acquired in 2007
Union Station Collection
The collection of impressive architectural drawings of Union Station in Los Angeles, considered the “last of the great railway stations.”
Acquired in 1999
International Architecture and Design:
Charles Barry Collection
Measured drawings and sketches by the well-known architect of London’s Houses of Parliament.
Acquired in 1986
The collection of assembled material from the Bauhaus years of 1919-1933, as well as material influenced by Bauhaus designers up to 1984. Included are photographs, typescripts, offprints and publications, original graphics, clippings, sketches and drawings, weavings, curricula and correspondence.
Acquired in 1992
William Butterfield Papers
The drawings for religious buildings and hospitals and their furnishings by the ardent promoter of English Gothic Revival.
Acquired in 1985
Coop Himmelblau Collection
Models and drawings for five architectural projects (most unexecuted) designed by the famous Viennese architectural firm’s Los Angeles office.
Acquired in 2002
Yona Friedman Archive
The papers (research and lecture notes, draft writings, correspondence, and sketches) of an influential French architectural critic and theoretician.
Acquired in 2008
Philip Johnson Papers
The papers (photographs, correspondence, clippings) of one of the leaders of modern and post-modern architecture.
Acquired in 1998
Daniel Libeskind Papers
The architectural archive (drawings, models and notebooks) of the early work (1968-1992) of the famous contemporary architect.
Acquired in 1992
Aldo Rossi Papers
The papers (consisting of correspondence, lecture and course materials, notebooks and other miscellaneous writings, plus the drawings for one architectural project) of a well-known Italian architect of the late 20th century.
Acquired in 1988
Bernard Rudofsky Papers
Papers from 1910-1987, consisting of notebooks, sketchbooks, magazine articles, magazine cover designs, architectural drawings, lectures, and photographs of the influential architect, critic, exhibition designer, and fashion designer.
Acquired in 1992
Karl Schneider Papers
The papers and drawings of the German architect and industrial designer who trained under Lussow and Kuehne, Walter Gropius, and Peter Behrens, and designed houses, housing projects, factories, theaters, "unit" furniture, and product designs for Chicago’s Sears, Roebuck & Co.
Acquired in 1985
Frank Lloyd Wright Collection
Photographs of the drawings and microfiche copies of the correspondence preserved in the Frank Lloyd Wright archive at Taliesin-West (Arizona).
Acquired in 1987
Julius Shulman Archive
The photographic archive of the famous Los Angeles architectural photographer. Acquired in 2004.
Lucien Hervé Collection
The negatives and color transparencies taken by Hervé as the official photographer of Le Corbusier.
Acquired in 2002
Leonard Nadel Papers
The papers of the documentary photographer for the Los Angeles Housing Authority from 1949 until 1953, including two unpublished books ("Pueblo del Rio" and "Aliso Village U.S.A."), photographs, negatives, contact prints, slides, pamphlets and related documents.
Acquired in 2002
Edmund Teske Collection
Photographic prints from the late 1970s documenting the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, including Taliesin East, Taliesin West, Hollyhock House, and Barnsdall Studio Residence B, which no longer exists.
Acquired in 2004
Camilo José Vergara Collection
A photography collection featuring views of Los Angeles neighborhoods such as South Central, Watts, and Skid Row, which highlight individual homes, local stores, churches, schools, and billboards.
Acquired in 1995
Architecture and Design Discourse:
Reyner Banham Papers
The papers of the architectural historian, critic, educator and editor including photographs, correspondence, draft manuscripts, printed material and research notes for eight of Banham’s published books, unpublished projects, and many articles and reviews related to the history of architecture and design.
Acquired in 1991
The International Congresses for Modern Architecture (CIAM)
Belgian Section Papers
The 1928-1958 records of the Belgian section of CIAM including the records of Paul Fitschy, Liège-based secretary of this section as well as some CIAM-related documents obtained in separate acquisitions. Included are correspondence and documents generated by the Belgian section itself, the central CIAM secretariat in Switzerland, and associated CIAM national sections.
Acquired in 1985
International Design Conference in Aspen Archive
The papers (correspondence, notes, audio tapes, video tapes, conference materials, posters, and photographs) of the influential design organization that met every summer in Aspen between 1951 and 2004.
Acquired in 2006
Nikolaus Pevsner Papers
The papers of a pre-eminent scholar of architectural history, whose studies on German and British architecture influenced several generations of architectural historians.
Acquired in 1984 and 2003
Lebbeus Woods Collection
The drawings and journals by a well-known architectural critic and theoretician.
Acquired in 1995 and 1997
GRI ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN STAFF BIOS
Wim de Wit is senior curator of the Architecture and Design at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. He studied architectural history at the Catholic University in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. After his graduation, he was appointed as a scholarly researcher responsible for the collections at the Netherlands Documentation Center for Architecture in Amsterdam (1974-1982). Having moved to the United States in 1982, he first worked at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York as a guest curator for an exhibition about the Amsterdam School, a group of Dutch architects of the early twentieth century. From 1983 until 1993, he was the curator for architecture at the Chicago Historical Society, where he organized such exhibitions as “Louis Sullivan, the Function of Ornament” and “Grand Illusions: Chicago’s World’s Fair of 1893.” He has been in Los Angeles since 1993. He has organized a number of exhibitions at the Getty Research Institute, including “Shaping the Great City: Modern Architecture in Central Europe, 1890-1937” (2001), “Julius Shulman, Modernity and the Metropolis” (fall 2005), “Julius Shulman’s Los Angeles” at the Los Angeles Public Library (fall 2007), and “Lessons from Bernard Rudofsky” (GRI, March 11-June 8, 2008).
Christopher James Alexander is the curator of Architecture and Design at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. Since arriving at the Getty in 2004, he has co-curated the exhibitions “Julius Shulman, Modernity and the Metropolis” (October 2005), “Julius Shulman’s Los Angeles,” hosted by the Los Angeles Central Public Library (October 2007), “Bernard Rudofsky: What Would Intrigue Him Now?” (July 2007), presented at the Canadian Center for Architecture, Montreal and the Getty’s installation of “Lessons from Bernard Rudofsky” (March 2008). As the Co-Founder and Principal of A-SQUARED Consultants, Alexander curated and designed the exhibition, “Shulman, Boffi, Colombo: Past Becomes Future” (May 2007) for Boffi Los Angeles. He was also the urban designer, project manager, and grant recipient for the 2004 revitalization of the West Los Angeles Civic Center Plaza and Bandshell funded by the City of Los Angeles Department of Public Works. A practicing artist with a focus on drawing, sculpture, and ceramics, Alexander’s work has been included in several student art exhibitions.
Alexander has interned at the Smithsonian Institution’s Department of Architectural History and Historic Preservation, the Art Institute of Chicago’s Department of Architecture and Design, the Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles, Hickok Warner Fox Architects in Washington, D.C., Partners for Livable Communities, and the Chicago Community Trust. Prior to his current position at the Getty, he worked as a project designer at Mia Lehrer and Associates Landscape Architecture. Alexander earned an M.Arch degree from the University of California at Los Angeles and graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in Fine Arts and Art History from The George Washington University, in Washington, D.C.
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