When the Getty Trust commissioned Machado and Silvetti Associates for the redesign and expansion of the Getty Villa in Malibu, CA, one of the major challenges they faced was the harmonization of all buildings and public areas with the existing J. Paul Getty Museum, erected in 1974 as a recreation of a first-century Roman country house. In the words of design architect Jorge Silvetti, “It’s a huge property and it was already a landmark. Our approach to the villa museum building focused on (improving) its classical architecture. This was going to be an exemplary paradigm designed to help the public understand how the Romans lived.”
To this end, instead of replicating Roman architecture, the modernist architects conceived original elements that defined a character for the new Getty Villa and harmonized the otherwise disparate existing structures. In their master plan, they designed a building complex that was to have the original villa at the center and new structures around it, as gateways that deliver the visitor to the old.
The $ 275 million masterful renovation of the villa took twelve years and the collage of old and new involved exquisite combinations of onyx, travertine, granite, sandstone, copper, bronze, wood, glass and striated concrete, both in the new additions and in the restoration of original floors and walls. On a par with these materials, glass mosaic tiles handcrafted by Vidrotil were used not only to add unique sheen and organic texture on restroom walls across the complex, but also, thanks to their timelessness, to serve as common denominator for the original villa and the architectural additions.
By the way, the museum also has a great collection of antique art…
When in the Malibu, CA area, make sure you pay a visit to the Getty Villa. In the meantime, you can check out the Machado and Silvetti’s website.
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