Designed by the distinguished architectural firm Richard Meier and Associates, the Getty Museum complex comprises six principal buildings tiered on a 110-acre hillside site. It houses the Getty Museum, the Conservation Institute, the Art History Information Program, the Center for Education in the Arts, the Center for the History of Arts and Humanities, trust offices, an auditorium and a food services building. Above all, it is a most prominent home for one of the world's best art collections.
Two factors were uppermost in Meier's mind when it came to specifying window treatments for the museum: optimum solar protection for the art collections and public spaces and maintaining the spectacular views of Los Angeles, the Santa Monica Mountains and the Pacific Ocean.
For this project, Richard Meier and Associates specified ElectroShades[TM] and ThermoVeil[TM] ShadeCloths from MechoShade Systems, Inc., Long Island City, NY. The decision was based, first, on the need to protect the very valuable and precious Getty art collections from damage from the sun; and second, because of their past successful professional association on similar projects such as the High Museum in Atlanta, GA, and the Des Moines Art Center in Iowa.
Terry Sheward, principal of Sheward and Sons, the MechoShade dealer in Newport Beach, CA, furnished the shading systems and worked closely with general contractor Dinwiddie on the project. Because of tall, narrow windows in many of the public spaces Sheward and Sons installed the shading systems using special pockets and side channels. Sheward and Sons fabricated the treatments using a unique medium gray shade cloth with an improved coating developed by MechoShade. It was chosen because it maximizes the views through large expanses of glass, reduces heat gain and ultraviolet rays and comes with a 15-year warranty.
The visually transparent ThermoVeil[TM] ShadeCloths dramatically echo the dynamic environment that Meier created in order to capture and incorporate the spectacular views available from the museum. These views are seen through 50 roller type shades 30 feet high in the food service building, 45 foot-high shades in the auditorium, and the 25 foot-high radius wall in the library.
ElectroShades[TM] also were installed in the interior conference rooms and the visitor area.
"The Getty Center was built to be a cultural resource for the city of Los Angeles, for visitors from around the world, and as a reminder of the vital role that the arts can play in our lives," stated Harold M. Williams, president and chief executive officer of the J. Paul Getty Trust. "We intend for it to attract and serve a broad public who will come to the Center to enjoy and study art and cultural heritage in an inspiring and stimulating setting."
Approximately 1.5 million visitors per year are expected.