Art, Art & Archives, Gardens and Architecture, Getty Center, People & Places

Miniature Getty Center Opens in Philadelphia

Getty Center garden installation at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society's Philadephia Flower Show

Look slightly familiar? This landscape-in-progress riffs on the Getty Center’s architecture and gardens. It’s on view March 1 to 9 at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Philadephia Flower Show.

Two thousand miles east of L.A., the final touches are being put on a pint-sized version of the Getty Center—in flowers. The mini-Getty will be unveiled Friday at the Philadelphia Flower Show organized by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, which this year has challenged landscape architects to transform museums around the country into botanical form. Rising alongside the Getty Center are the Guggenheim, the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, the Barnes Foundation, and the North Carolina Museum of Art, to name just four of of this year’s participants.

The Philadelphia Flower Show is the world’s oldest and largest indoor flower show. (If you’re wondering why it’s indoors, check the weather in Philly today.) If it relates to plants, you’ll find it there: from massive displays of rare orchids to discussions on vegetable gardening to stop hunger.

Getty Center garden installation at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society's Philadephia Flower Show

Azaleas in full bloom, inspired by the Getty Center’s Azalea Pool, part of Robert Irwin’s Central Garden. In this photo, the water feature has yet to be filled.

Each participating museum worked with a garden designer who sought inspiration in its collections, buildings, or grounds. Our collaborator is the Philadelphia firm of Burke Brothers, whose landscape architect Vivianne Englund-Callahan created this SoCal moment in the middle of the Pennsylvania Convention Center. In a bird’s-eye-view, the 40-by-55-foot installation looks like an abstract painting, filled with blocks of contrasting colors and textures.

Landscape architect's rendering of the Getty Center display at the Philadelphia Flower Show

Designer’s-eye-view rendering of the mini-Getty. Courtesy of Burke Brothers Landscape Design/Build

Two trellises, inspired by these lavender ones at the Getty Center, lead to a central open space surrounded by seating walls and flowering trees.

Lavender wisteria trellis at the Getty Center

The lavender trellis at the Getty Center, a pop of color amidst the travertine

Englund-Callahan drew inspiration for the installation from several aspects of the Getty Center’s architecture and gardens—the travertine grid, the Azalea Pool, and the cactus garden on the South Promontory overlooking L.A. Also—and really, what plant-lover could resist?—she snuck in a nod to Van Gogh’s Irises.

The Getty-in-flowers opens to the public on March 1 and closes March 9. If you’re in Philly and lucky enough to see it and its neighbors on this unusual and completely original museum row, snap it and share with the hashtag #ARTiculture.

Robert Irwin's Central Garden at the Getty Center

Central Garden at the (real) Getty Center

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      Color for Healing

      This sanitorium (tuberculosis hospital) in Paimio, Finland, was designed by architect Alvar Aalto in the 1920s. Unlike many hospitals, it was full of bright colors—including welcoming yellow on the main stairs and calming green for ceilings above bedridden patients. Aalto even created special chairs to open the chest and speed healing.

      The building’s colors were mostly whitewashed later in the 20th century, but now—due to a grant from the Getty Foundation as part of its Keeping It Modern initiative—its colors are being reconstructed and the building preserved for the future.

      More of the story: Saving Alvar Aalto’s Paimio Sanitorium

      Pictured: Paimio Sanatorium, patients’ wing and solarium terraces. Photo: Maija Holma, Alvar Aalto Museum. A color model for Paimio Sanatorium interiors by decorative artist Eino Kauria. Photo: Maija Holma, Alvar Aalto Museum, 2016.Paimio chairs (Artek no 41) in the Paimio Sanatorium lecture room, 1930s. Photo: Gustaf Welin, Alvar Aalto Museum. Aino Aalto resting in a chair on the solarium terrace. Photo: Alvar Aalto, Alvar Aalto Museum, 1930s. Main stairs of Paimio Sanatorium. Photo: Maija Holma, Alvar Aalto Museum.


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